Burpee Intros Stunning New Varieties for 2016 Gardening Season

Revolutionary ‘Meatball’ Eggplant Healthful Alternative to Meat

WARMINSTER, PA (Dec. 7, 2015) — Americans are cutting down on meat consumption to both lower fat and cholesterol intake and to save money. Responding to this growing trend, W. Atlee Burpee & Co., America’s home gardening industry leader since 1876, will introduce a revolutionary new eggplant for 2016  specially bred for texture and flavor. It just might be, says Burpee, the best meat substitute ever.

Heading the lineup of breakthrough new items for Bucks County, PA-based Burpee for 2016 is ‘Meatball’, a delicious new eggplant that will make culinary history, according to Burpee.  ‘Meatball’s density and texture make it a suitable meat substitute—as a “hamburger,” eggplant steak “cutlet” or in any recipe calling for meat.

“Whether you bake, fry or grill it, ‘Meatball’s texture and flavor are amazingly like beef,” says George Ball, Burpee’s chairman and chief executive. What makes ‘Meatball’ a game-changer, he notes, is the sweet, succulent, buttery taste, and dense, meaty consistency.

New Eggplant, Meatball 2016

For many years, home gardener-chefs seeking healthful meat substitutes have had to rely on conventional eggplant varieties, according to Mr. Ball. Thanks to Burpee’s breeders–who have combined the best traits from heirlooms and hybrids, he adds, ‘Meatball’ overcomes three eggplant gripes: seeds with a bitter aftertaste, surplus water, and fast-oxidizing flesh that quickly turns brown. ‘Meatball’s meaty texture, overall mouthfeel and flavor make it an eggplant like no other. 

'Meatball' Cutlets and 'Madame Marmande'

Mr. Ball predicts eggplants will soon be the “new kale.” Like culinary superstar kale, eggplant offers rich flavor, big nutritional dividends, and a multitude of delicious uses. “Eggplant is the most versatile food there is,” he notes.

Eggplant, Mr. Ball explains, excels as an entrée, appetizer, sauce, in salads, or dessert. In addition to eggplant “steaks” and “burgers,” favorite dishes include eggplant parmagiana, baba ghanouj, moussaka, pasta alla Norma, ratatouille—and, for dessert, melanzane al cioccolato.

Kale’s emergence as a favorite of home gardeners and chefs is a recent phenomenon, according to Mr. Ball. Until the last few years, sales of kale lagged far behind other leafy greens. “There was a kale cult,” he adds, “but it was a small one.” Now kale ranks among the leading dark, leafy greens sold to home gardeners. 

For 2016, Burpee is introducing ‘Kale Storm’: a kale salad mix that comes in easy-sowing seed pellets with three different varieties: purple, green and blue. The kale mix, a Burpee exclusive, is pretty enough to merit planting in a patio container—putting a healthy snack just a snip away.

Burpee’s 2016 annual catalog, due out in time for the new year, features an outstanding collection of new vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruits.


‘Madame Marmande’ Hybrid tomato
Broad-shouldered, juicy, richly flavored, ruby-red French gourmet tomato.

‘Cherry Baby’ Hybrid tomato
Jewel-like clusters of mini-tomatoes bursting with sweetness, light, and tingly-tangy “pop.”

Kale Storm’ Kale blend
Magnificent, purple, green and blue multicolored kale crop from multiseed pellet.

‘A La Carte’ Hybrid spinach
Loaded with dense, savory, nutty flavor—and nutritional ka-boom!

‘Pegaoda’ Pea
A tree of peas, paragon of the patio pea patch: edible architecture at its most incredible.

‘Little Darling’ Hybrid watermelon
Super-productive watermelon built for two, with sugar-sweet pink flesh.

‘Little SnapPea Crunch’ Snap pea
Patio-perfect pea plants—plump, crunchy pods packed with pearly peas.

‘Royal Tenderette’ Hybrid broccoli
Harvest after harvest of snackable baby broccoli with mini-florets.

‘Aphrodite’ Hybrid cantaloupe
6-8 lb. breakfast-ready lovelies with tender, honey-sweet orange flesh and heirloom flavor.

‘The Wrinkles Family’ Collection pumpkins
Magical mix of 3 awesomely textured fruits from 7 to 29 lbs.

Crocosmia, ‘Orange Pekoe’
High-impact tropical color: florid blaze of long, multicolor reblooming spikes with rich orange, yellow and fuchsia hues.

Monarda ‘Humdinger’
Produces a flurry of showy violet-pink fragrant flowers in late summer that bloom, bloom, bloom.

Sedum ‘Oriental Dancer’
Glorious masses of red-pink flowers, star-shaped clusters accented by dark green-red leaves.

Heliopsis ‘Sweet Sunshine’
Stunning show of high-wattage, long-distance, super-rich color: blooms early and long.

Echinacea purpurea, ‘Butterfly Kisses’
Stunning succession of giant, luminous 3" semi-double blooms with deep-pink centers and light-pink petals.

Phlox paniculata, Kirchenfuerst’
Unleashes great-big trusses of purple-red blooms from July to October.

Hydrangea quercifolia, ‘Queen of Hearts’
Produces abundance of large, upright 9" inflorescences morphing from white to glowy deep-pink.

Agastache, ‘Blue Boa’
Sturdy 4-5' spikes spangled with fragrant purple-blue blooms and super-showy, extra-large, dark-purple 6.5" flower clusters.

Alstroemeria, Indian Summer’
Peruvian lily produces stunning five-month display of radiantly gorgeous flowers and rich, bronze foliage.

Perovskia atriplicifolia, ‘Rocketman’
Supercharged rocketlike plant’s sturdy, silvery stems shimmer with large, fluffy, lavender-blue flowers.

Cosmos, ‘Xanthos’
Very first yellow Cosmos bipinnathus sets the border aglow with serenely radiant, soft-yellow hues.

Sunflower, ‘Crimson Blaze’
Bicolor sunflower radiates sensuous, high-definition color.

Petunia, ‘Night Sky’
Petunia’s starry white-on-purple pattern sparkles like the night sky. 

Flowering Basil, ‘Snow White’
Nonstop-flowering ornamental basil beauty unleashes sense-reeling masses of fragrant 10-12" white spikes.

Verbena rigida, ‘Santos Purple’
Magic carpet of large, high-definition purple blooms on floriferous spikes.

Marigold, ‘Triple Treat’
Produces three juicy colors at once: nectarous shades of yellow, orange and red.

Stoechas, ‘Bandera Purple’
Flurry of dreamy fragrance and stunning dark-purple spikes: flowers first season.

Cosmos, ‘Cupcake White’
Dazzles with eye-popping chalicelike petal pattern.

Celosia, ‘Dragon's Breath’
Blazing plumelike flowers, dazzling green-red foliage.

Dianthus barbatus, ‘JoltTM Cherry’
A shock of super-charged color all summer long.

Zinnia, ‘Double Zahara Yellow’
Great big, double-flowered beauty with thrilling lemony-yellow color.

Strawberry, ‘Sweet Kiss’
High-yielding petite plants loaded with shapely, delicious, large strawberries.

Raspberry, ‘Amira’
Delectable, crunchy, sweet raspberry keeps flavor and juiciness 3 to 4 days longer.

Fig, ‘Violette de Bordeaux’
The finest, most flavorful fig: produces bumper-crop of purple-black fruit with sweet, rich flavor.

Blueberry, ‘Nocturne’
Towering 5-6' plants’ abundant, delicious, vivid orange fruit morphs to luscious, dusky-black.

Blueberry, ‘Razz’
Outsize crop of pleasantly plump powder-blue berries with raspberry-accented flavor.

Blueberry, ‘Pink Popcorn’®
Bountiful pink-cream- to pink berries, bursting with true blueberry flavor and aroma.

Raspberry, Autumn Bliss’
Early-to-fruit high-yielder of large, perfectly sweet red raspberries.

Fig, ‘Texas Blue Giant’
Delicious great big blue fig with mouth-melting amber flesh and purple skin.

Lingonberry, ‘Koralle’
Super-tasty European berry favorite loaded with vitamin C—perfect in jams and jellies.