Looking for something different? Give these 8 AAS-winning specialty crops a look.

All images courtesy of All-America Selections

Squash Bossa Nova F1

The beautiful dark and light green mottled exterior of this 2015 AAS-awarded zucchini is more pronounced than other varieties on the market, which sets it apart and makes the fruits easier to see during a long and prolific harvest. Compact plants (ideal for greenhouse or indoor) produce fruits earlier in the season and continue producing for three weeks longer than comparison varieties.

Swiss Chard Bright Lights

A 1998 AAS winner, this chard boasts improved colors, with vibrant stems that can be yellow, gold, orange, pink, violet or striped in addition to red or white. Easy to grow from seed or bedding plants, the chard harvests in 4-5 weeks, making it a good candidate for indoor ag. For use as a garnish, in salads and in many tasty recipes, Bright Lights has great taste. It’s a standout in any garden, even with the flowers.

Strawberry Delizz F1

These vigorous strawberry plants are easy to grow, from seed or transplant, and produce an abundant harvest throughout the growing season. The best part, though, is the strawberry’s sweet burst of flavor from each handpicked berry. To enjoy fresh home-grown strawberries throughout the season, even in hot summer heat, look to Strawberry Delizz F1. These plants have a nice uniform and compact size making them perfect for containers, hanging baskets or garden plots.

Pak Choi Asian Delight F1

Asian Delight F1 Pak Choi (or Bok Choy) is also a Chinese cabbage that outperformed the comparisons by leaps and bounds. Judge after judge noted how this Pak Choi does not sell like the comparisons, even weeks after other varieties went to seed. That means the yield from this AAS Winner can be more than double that of other Pak Choi on the market. Asian Delight forms small to mid-size (5-7 inch) heads that have a tasty, tender white rib and dark green, textured leaves.

Lettuce Bauer

Oakleaf lettuce is a delicious and versatile edible that is super easy (and fast) to grow in the garden. Harvest at the baby leaf stage or grow into the rosette-shaped full-sized head. Bauer, the 2022 AAS Edible category award winner, will please with its darker green color and nicely uniform compact size that can be grown almost anywhere. The dense heads produce a plethora of sweet, crisp, sturdy leaves. Now all you need is your favorite vinaigrette! One judge went a step further and tried growing Bauer in a home aeroponics system. He reported that it did brilliantly, making it an excellent candidate for controlled environment production.

Kale Prizm F1

Dreaming of growing the popular superfood kale, but think you don’t have room? Look no further than the 2016 AAS Winner Kale Prizm F1. When grown, Prizm produces attractive short, tight ruffle-edged leaves that are content to be grown in containers as well as in-ground beds. Its easy-to-maintain, almost stemless stalks are quick to re-leaf, so harvest early and often for a continuous supply throughout the season. The excellent-tasting, almost nutty-flavored leaves are tender enough to enjoy in fresh salads, but also hold up well when cooked.

Cucumber Green Light F1

This little beauty is an excellent mini cucumber, said many of the AAS judges. The yield was higher than the comparison varieties with more attractive fruit, earlier maturity and superior eating quality. “I would absolutely grow this in my home garden,” commented one judge. Grow Green Light on stakes or poles for a productive, easy-to-harvest vertical garden that will yield 40 or more spineless fruits per plant. Pick the fruits when they’re small, between 3-4 inches long, and you’ll be rewarded with great-tasting cucumbers, even without peeling. Succession plantings will ensure a summer-long harvest. Fun fact: This cucumber is parthenocarpic, meaning it is a seedless mini cucumber that does not need pollination (ie can be grown indoors).

Basil Dolce Fresca

If there was an AAS category for an edible plant with ornamental value, this 2015 AAS Winner would fit that classification. Dolce Fresca produces sweet, tender leaves that outshone the comparison varieties while maintaining an attractive, compact shape that’s both versatile and beautiful. Use the leaves as you would any Genovese basil, and it makes an excellent pesto. After harvest, the plant was quick to recover and kept the desired ornamental shape that’s perfect for containers, borders, or as a focal point.