Move Over Burgers and Chops: Veggies Move to Center of Plate

WARMINSTER, Penn. (Sept. 16, 2015) – Offering tastes of things to come, legendary seed giant W. Atlee Burpee and Co. released its 2016 innovations in vegetables, flowers and fruits. Featured in its annual catalog to be published in December 2015 and posted on its website November 3, 2015, Burpee’s portfolio of new garden products moves vegetables to center of the plate.


Eggplant, Meatball Hybrid

Meatball, Meatball Recipe

Meatball, Meatballs

A Revolutionary New Vegetable: Unveiled on August 14 at a National Writer’s Gathering at Burpee’s historic Fordhook Farm, ‘Meatball’ is the first eggplant to be sweet instead of bitter, and much denser and heavier than other eggplant varieties. ‘Meatball’s flesh is so sweet and meaty in flavor, there is no need to wield the salt shaker. It makes the ultimate protein substitute and is so moist it can be shaped into meatballs and paired deliciously with classic tomato sauces. Or, grill ‘Meatball’ like steaks, chops and burgers for easy, healthy veggie entrees.

“Not since Burpee’s introduction of ‘Black Beauty’ in 1904 has eggplant been so transformed,” said George Ball, CEO and Chairman of W. Atlee Burpee & Company. “‘Meatball’ will convert the unconverted to loving eggplant, and make healthy home cooking easier for America’s gardeners.”
Reaching over a million home gardeners, Burpee’s catalog offers insights into the heritage and popularity of garden plants since 1876.  In 2015, tomatoes continued to rule home vegetable gardening commerce and Americans showed with their pocketbooks they aren’t yet over kale. Chili peppers of all sizes and varieties are growing as rising stars, especially ‘Big Boss Man’ and ‘Big Guy’, and many home gardeners this year chose to get their antioxidants by planting perennial fruits.  We just might be a DIY gardening nation by 2016.

Eggplant, Black Beauty

Burpee's 2016 catalog exclusive new product innovations include:

  • Eggplant "Meatball" Hybrid: This variety can stand alone in ‘Meatless Monday’ recipes in American home kitchens. ‘Meatball’ was bred with two specific traits in mind: high moisture content and low seed count with low oxidation rate (the browning of seeds after the fruit is cut). ’Meatball’ has such a high moisture content that it almost drips water from the firm but spongy core. Sweet enough to snack on raw.
  • Tomato ‘Madame Marmande’ Hybrid: Marmande tomatoes are beloved by the French for their elegant fragrance and juiciness and are often stuffed with a soft cheese. With all due respect to French sensibility, the classic Marmande often lacks durability in a humid, sunny growing environment. ‘Madame Marmande’ had been selected from five generations of Marmande crosses. This gourmet beefsteak variety has all of the best traits of Marmandes, with added yield and disease resistance. ‘Madame Marmande’ delivers durability, as well as flavor and perfume.
  • Cherry Baby: Sweet and plentiful with gorgeous elongated racemes, these super-productive plants mass with dense clusters of not just 100 but 300 super sweet 1-ounce cuties. Selected from Burpee’s greenhouse trial grounds four years ago, and field tested from California to Bulgaria, with container trials mixed in as well, this variety has consistently proven its flavor, yield and fruit quality to be superior in any climate.
  • Marigold, ‘Triple Treat’: Pretty yet never demanding, with three vibrant colors on one plant. No dead-heading and no dead brown blooms make for a gardener’s win-win. Gregarious garden performance is the gift of these ironclad plants. Easy care: just plant and water. ‘Triple Treat’ is heat and humidity tolerant. Once established these tri-color marigolds need only a bit of water to retain their beauty.
  • Petunia, ‘Night Sky’: Deep purple with white paint splashes, ‘Night Sky’ adds beauty to the universe. From a distance, these blooms attract much attention and when planted en masse the color resembles the starry night sky.
  • Lavender, ‘Bandera Purple’: This new lavender has Dutch bloodlines, and was first trialed in California and then at Burpee’s Fordhook Farm in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Dense, floriferous blooms. First year flowering perennial that is a bee and butterfly magnet. Fragrant, drought tolerant plants are neat and elegant– ideal for small spaces and patio pots. Excellent for dry climates, requiring very little attention and water.
  • Crocosmia, ‘Orange Pekoe’: Originating from South Africa, this ‘imported’ tropical flowering plant now gives exotic flare in Northern Hemisphere gardens. Evergreen foliage with multi-color orange, yellow and fuchsia flowers on long spikes make ‘Orange Pekoe’ excellent for cut flowers and also vertical texture when not in bloom. Re-blooming perennial. Easy to maintain.
  • Blueberry, ‘Nocturne’: Science meets blueberry brawn. ‘Nocturne’ is a distinct rabbiteye-blueberry (Rabbiteye type are fast growing, wild and very adaptive) developed by Dr. Mark Ehlenfeldt and released by the Marucci Center for Blueberry & Cranberry Research and Extension, Chatsworth, N.J.)  Nocturne are very cold-hardy and produce impressively vigorous bushes. Colorful orange unripe fruit add ornamental value to this unconventional landscape plant. Large, sweet, dusky black berries when fully ripe.
  • Strawberry, ‘Sweet Kiss’: Bountiful berries with less space – a sweet solution for limited sized gardens. Plants produce few runners and flower profusely, offering a cornucopia of berries.  The large white blooms of ‘Sweet Kiss’ yield large fruits with classic shape, rich color and lush, inviting true strawberry taste. Perfect for patios, as well as gardens.

Gardeners can find Burpee’s non-GMO flower and vegetable plants and seeds at The company’s website also offers free garden resources, articles, how-to videos and garden supplies.


About Burpee
A true heritage brand, the Burpee Co. was founded in Philadelphia in 1876 by W. Atlee Burpee, an 18-year-old with a passion for plants and animals, and a mother willing to lend him $1,000 of “seed money” to get him started in business. Within 25 years he had developed the largest, most innovative seed company in the world. By 1915 Burpee was mailing a million catalogs a year to America’s gardeners. Still located in the greater Philadelphia, Burpee is owned and operated by George Ball, a third-generation plantsman. All Burpee products are non-GMO. Burpee’s seeds and plants are available — and guaranteed — for all growing zones. The company’s highly recognizable catalog is available in late December each year. Seeds and plants can be ordered by mail, phone and online.  For more information, gardening techniques, recipes, gift cards and more, visit or call 1-800-888-1447. The Burpee community can be found on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

* The Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF) 2014 October Gardening Trends Research Report.