With the California Spring Trials just over a month away, I figured I'd start a countdown and give you a sneak peek into some of the introductions attendees should expect to see throughout this one-week coastal journey. California Springs Trials officially begins March 24, 2012, which happens to be 32 days away. If you need any help while you're making travel arrangements and appointments, check out CaliforniaSpringTrials.com . We've posted all the trial locations, maps and directions, and exhibitor contact information.
For those of you who have received the print version of our California Spring Trials Companion, please be aware that some of the information has been updated. So for the most up-to-date information, be sure to check CaliforniaSpringTrials.com . Two items I would like to mention: the Fides Oro contact email address is incorrect. The correct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, for those of you visiting the Fides Oro location, Flamingo Holland will be exhibiting at this location as well but the company's contact information was left out of the print version. Please contact Kelly Adcox at email@example.com  or 760.734.1033.
Now, let me share some exciting introductions I'm looking forward to learning about at this year's big event!
Mystic Mums Official Launch
For those of you who attended the California Spring Trials last year, you may remember a soft launch of a new mum program at the Fides location. This year, the program is officially in full swing. The new series has a name, Mystic Mums, and will have 27 new mum varieties on display ('Sunbeam Pink Bicolor' is pictured). I had the chance to speak with Joe Bergen, Mystic Mums product manager with Fides Oro, and he shared all kinds of interesting details with me about the new program.
What many people don't know is that Fides Oro is an established world leader in mum production, although they haven't been present (in recent years) in the North American market. The Mystic Mums program has actually been in the works for a few years now, but that was due to the breeder's non-traditional selection procress. "One of the reasons why it took us a few years to get everything worked out is because we brought American growers to Europe and had them select varieties of mums, and then we sent them back to them the next season," said Bergen. "We let them go through the trials that we set up. We followed up with them, and that's how we selected our varieties for the North American market."
Another interesting fact about the Mystic Mums selection process is that they are bred for white rust resistance. "White rust is a big deal, especially in the Northeast," shared Bergen. "We're trialing and making our selections based on white rust resistance."
Along with this new series launch, Fides Oro is also introducing a new "Ask the Doctor" program on the company's website. If you have any technical questions in regards to production, simply go to the Fides Oro website , and click the "Ask the Doctor" link on the home page. You can enter your question and even provide a photo of your problem, and either Dr. Royal Heins or Dr. Roger Styer will respond to your question. Got a problem? Now you've got the doctors at your fingertips!
Consumers are Crazy for Vegetables
You may have heard that the launch of the Burpee BOOST high-nutrition vegetable has been catching a lot of consumer attention. More and more home gardeners are including edibles to their gardens, and this translates into an excellent opportunity for growers. This new collection of six antioxidant-rich home vegetable varieties is getting noticed, and gardeners will be looking for them this spring.
For the past few years, we've been noticing more vegetable and herb introductions on display at the California Spring Trials, and this year one of the big veggie introductions will be Burpee's Bumper Crop grafted tomato program. Burpee Home Gardens is introducing six grafted tomatoes to its line of branded vegetables and herbs. The Bumper Crop collection provides "something different" to keep gardeners interested in vegetables. The grafts give gardeners more of the heirloom flavor they love, along with vigor, disease tolerance and growing success. Varieties include 'Big Rainbow', 'Black Krim', 'Brandywine Pink' (pictured), 'Brandywine Red', 'Mortgage Lifter' and 'San Marzano'.
Growing and selling the Burpee Home Gardens program is easy. But first you have to become a certified Burpee Home Gardens grower through your Ball sales rep or ColorLink Customer Service rep at 800.879.BALL. Click here  for more information.