AAS Honors Thomas, Alston at Summer Meeting

August 24, 2012 - 07:13

All-America Selections honored Paul Thomas and Dr. Jim Alston at its recent annual Summer Meeting in Michigan.

All-America Selections (AAS) recently hosted its annual Summer Meeting for the first time ever in the state of Michigan. More than 70 attendees came together August 7-9 to tour central Michigan’s trials from a base in East Lansing.

The AAS Summer Summit took place in conjunction with the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, which features a number of trials throughout the state.. Michigan State University is a trialing site for AAS flowers, bedding plants, cool season and vegetables, and an American Garden Award garden. C. Raker and Sons is an AAS Trial site for flowers, bedding plants and cool season, and an AAS Display Garden. A number of recent AAS Winners were featured throughout their extensive trial and display beds.

The group also visited Elzinga & Hoekstra Greenhouses, Mast Young Plants and the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Mast Young Plants is an AAS Trial site for vegetables and bedding plants. 

At the annual AAS Awards Banquet Paul Thomas of Petoseed received the 2012 Breeder's Cup Award and Dr. Jim Alston, Park Seed, was the recipient of the AAS Medallion of Honor

The AAS Breeder’s Cup Award recognizes an individual  who has dramatically influenced horticulture by breeding new cultivars that bring significant improvement to their class. Paul Thomas, a vegetable breeder for Petoseed for almost 30 years, and an AAS vegetable trial judge during most of his career. Some of his most noteworthy breeding includes the best-selling tomato ‘Better Boy’, AAS Winners ‘Chefini’ squash, ‘Aristocrat’ and ‘Greyzini’ zucchinis, ‘Bell Boy’ pepper, ‘Triumph’ and ‘Victory’ cucumbers and ‘Small Fry’ tomato. Thomas officially retired in 1993 but continues his tomato breeding work independently with some support and assistance from Magnum Seeds. .

The recently retired Dr. Jim Alston of Park Seed Company is the 2012 recipient of the AAS Medallion of Honor. One of the highlights of Dr. Alston’s career is his involvement in the Seeds in Space program with NASA. Flower breeding was the mainstay of Dr. Alston’s work and he created numerous new varieties over the years.

The 2013 AAS Summer Summit will take place next August in the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada. Contact the AAS office at 630.963.0770 more information.

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