The lineup of 2022 AAS Winners has been announced, and in the edibles category it includes five national winners and three regional winners. For those who might not be familiar with it, All-America Selections (AAS) is an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties of flowers and edibles in trial grounds all over the U.S. and Canada. I grow quite a few AAS Winners in my garden every year, and I always look forward to trying the new winners here at Happy Acres. There are three tomatoes, one melon, two peppers, one eggplant and one lettuce that made the Winners list for 2022 as well as four ornamentals.
Pink Delicious is a pink beefsteak tomato that promises meaty 11 ounce fruits that are sweet tasting and crack resistant. The judge’s observations included “Definitely a winner for an “heirloom” looking tomato but with all the benefits of a hybrid!” and “What set the entry apart was the excellent flavor.” This one looks to be a good addition to our line up of slicing tomatoes, which includes several AAS Winners from year’s past.
Purple Zebra is a new addition to the world of striped tomatoes. It compared favorably with Black Zebra in the trials. The flavor was described by one judge as “rich, deep-bodied, almost dessert-like.” Sunset Torch is another striped plum tomato that made the 2022 Winner list. It features firm 1 ounce fruits that resist splitting and hold well in the field. The plants are indeterminate and show good disease resistance as well.
I’m especially looking forward to trying the Icicle eggplant, which is a 2022 National Winner. It has white skinned 7 inch long fruits that weigh almost a half pound each. It compares favorably to Gretel, itself a 2009 AAS Winner and a big favorite of ours. One judge noted “best features of entry are that it has reduced spines, larger size, better fruit shape, and uniformity”. Icicle is also suitable for container growing, which I definitely want to try here.
Bauer is a new green oakleaf lettuce and another of the National Winners. It compares favorably with Panisse, which is one of my favorites of the oakleaf types. I look forward to growing this one too.
Buffy is a Capsicum frutescens type pepper like the Tabasco pepper used to make the famous hot sauce. The heat level is listed at 500,000 Scoville units, so this is one for those who like their peppers hot! It’s a National Winner, and the plants get around 28 inches tall and benefit from support.
Sweet pepper Dragonfly is another National Winner with fruits that go from green, to purple, then red when fully ripe. It has thick walls with attractive, 4 lobed fruits that are held high on the upright plants that reach 24-36 inches in height.
Century Star watermelon has red-fleshed seedless melons that weigh up to 10 pounds. The vines can grow up to 10 feet or more in length, and the rinds are dark green with yellow spots and resemble the heirloom Moon and Stars variety.
One non-edible Winner I want to mention is Bee’s Knees Petunia. Yellow is a somewhat uncommon color for petunias, but Bee’s Knees is a 2022 Gold Medal AAS Winner with deep yellow flowers that don’t fade with age. In trials it worked well in mixed containers, hanging baskets and as a long-blooming groundcover.
I hope you have enjoyed this review of a few of the 2020 AAS vegetables winners. For more information about AAS Winners check out:
- Growing the 2016 AAS Winners
- The 2018 All-America Selections Winners
- 2019 All-America Selections Winners
- 2020 All-America Selections Winners
- My Favorite AAS Veggies
All photos are courtesy of All-America Selections.