AAS Honors Two at North Carolina Summer Summit
All-America Selections took the show on the road for this years Summer Summit in North Carolina. Attendees met first in Charlotte for the opening reception followed the next day by a North Carolina welcome by industry friend and native North Carolinian, Debbie Hamrick.
The first tour took place at the Plants for Human Health Institute (part of the David H. Murdoch Research Center) in Kannapolis where participants learned about genetic research with various fruits and vegetables.
From there the group traveled to Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville for a southern-style barbecue lunch, tours of the AAS Trial Grounds and tours of the 162-acre growing facility. After making the trip to Asheville, the group then enjoyed the local Asheville food scene by participating in a “Dinner with Peers” at a number of downtown restaurants.
The second day of tours in and around the foothills that surround Asheville began with breakfast at the Moose Café, followed by a short walk to the North Carolina Farmers Market.
Additional stops included two locations of the North Carolina Research Station to view trials of AAS Edible entries, broccoli, Echinacea, hops, truffles and other horticulture crops. Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a small business incubator, was next on the list followed by the annual Awards Banquet, held at the North Carolina Arboretum.
The first award given that evening was the prestigious AAS Medallion of Honor, an award designed to recognize someone with a lifelong dedication to advancement in the field of horticulture. Dr. Allan Armitage was the recipient of the 2014 AAS Medallion of Honor. Ron Cramer from Sakata Ornamentals, AAS president, presented the story of Armitages career, adding that Armitage was an AAS Flower Judge from 1983 until his retirement from the University of Georgia in 2013.
The second award of the evening, the AAS Breeders Cup Award, was established in 2004 to recognize a plant breeder who dramatically influenced horticulture by breeding new cultivars that brought significant improvements to those classes.
The 2014 Breeders Cup Award recipient was Ellen Leue of PanAmerican Seed. Co-worker and banquet Master of Ceremonies, Mark Gross, presented the story of Ellens breeding contributions and innovations during her career.
Ellen began her breeding work in 1982 breeding seed potatoes then moved on to ornamentals with significant introductions in petunias, impatiens and other crops including AAS Winners petunia Orchid Daddy, impatiens Swirl Monet Mix, diascia Diamonte Coral Rose and most recently, angelonia Serenita Pink. Her work is coming full circle with a renewed emphasis on edible crops, including recent AAS Regional Winner eggplant Patio Baby.