Between its resistance to Downy Mildew, sweet taste, hybrid vigor and seed sterility, Proven Winners’ Amazel™ Basil proves a valuable option for produce growers who are looking for something different to grow. Kevin Hurd, director of new products at Proven Winners, explains what makes this such a unique crop.
Produce Grower: What is the biggest difference when comparing AmazelTM to other Italian sweet basils currently on the market?
Kevin Hurd: Amazel™ is the result of years of research and breeding from the University of Florida led by Dr. Dave Clark. Dr. Clark set out to solve the Downy Mildew issue for culinary herb growers who advised Dr. Clark that it was their number one issue with growing basil. The breeding program yielded Amazel™, the most Downy Mildew-resistant sweet basil on the market.
PG: How do you know AmazelTM has a higher resistance to Downy Mildew?
KH: Both Dr. Clark and Proven Winners have trialed Amazel™ against many industry standards, including other varieties that claim to be Downy Mildew-resistant. In every trial across North America, none stood up to Amazel™. We’ve also worked with independent, large culinary growers who have done field trials who have confirmed its high resistance to Downy Mildew against their regular varieties.
PG: Are there other ways AmazelTM is better than other basils?
KH: It’s very vigorous — perhaps twice as large as seed-grown basil, which means the customer will always have a Proven Harvest™. It also has large, dark-green leaves that are more cold-tolerant than traditional sweet basil.
PG: How does AmazelTM compare with other Italian sweet basil on the market today?
KH: Since Amazel™ is seed-sterile, it is produced by vegetative cuttings and not seed. It allows for a quicker start and an extremely uniform crop. Amazel™ is a great-tasting sweet basil with a typical flavor profile that is perfect for fresh use, cooking and pesto. It ranked side-by-side with the most widely distributed varieties in taste panels conducted at the University of Florida’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.
PG: How can AmazelTM help a grower’s business be successful?
KH: This plant is a super-yielder! Since Amazel™ has an interspecific background, it has hybrid vigor and it’s seed sterile. This allows Amazel™ to grow quickly and yield longer into the season than traditional seed-produced varieties without the use of chemical sprays.
— Interviewed by Patrick Williams
“Of all the basil I’ve grown over the years, Amazel™ is by far the best combination of vigor, leaf texture, flavor and most importantly Downy Mildew Resistance. Just amazing… hence the name Amazel™.” — Adam Moseley, Pleasant View Gardens R&D manager