Monsanto and Johnny’s Seeds

I am so ticked off that Monsanto owns such a large proportion of the world’s food supply seeds (and then “retires” them) that I want to avoid buying seeds from them at all costs. This is especially difficult now that they’ve bought Seminis, one of the largest garden seed wholesalers in the world.

I know that my favorite seed supply company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, does get some seeds from Seminis/Monsanto, and was worried I’d need to boycott them to avoid the real Evil Empire. But as it turns out, only 40 of Johnny’s varieties (4% of their stock) comes from Seminis, and they are actively working to replace those with seeds from other sources. That’s great, because they also breed their own plant varieties the old-fashioned way and support small growers/developers. The sell absolutely no GMO seed and the quality of their seeds is very, very good.

Tom Eickenberg at Johnny’s kindly listed for me every single seed variety they get from Seminis this year. It looks like peppers, tomatoes, and squash are the biggest things to watch out for. Here’s his message, and the complete list (after the cut):

Hello  Emily,
Thank  you for your email.  I have included a list of the Seminis varieties as an  attachment.
If I  can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact  me.

Tom  Eickenberg
Customer Care  Representative
Johnny's Selected Seeds
2003 Xera
224 Fremont
2954 Cheddar
240 Hansel
241 Gretel
2260 Fairy Tale
431N Red Sails
2024 Cajun Delight
103 Seirra Blanca
2026X Mercury
2872T Super Star Treated
2991 Candy
568 Biscayne
642 Dulce
2033 Super Chili
2033T Super Chili Treated
2034 Cherry Bomb
2038 King Arthur
2139 Caribbean Red
2309 X3R Red Knight
2830 Sahuaro
2894 Serrano Del Sol
2212 Prizewinner
2212T Prizewinner Treated
2365 Orange Smoothie
687 Table Ace
687T Table Ace Treated
2215 Sunray
2368 Peter Pan
2369 Cornell’s Bush Delicata
2369T Cornell’s Bush Delicata Treated
733 Celebrity
2063 Big Beef

See also their very thoughtful response to a customer letter about this at .

Published by Emily

I'm an instructional designer and gardener based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Free moments find me in my garden or the forest, hugging trees and all that jazz.

27 thoughts on “Monsanto and Johnny’s Seeds

  1. Wow, that is absolutely frickin’ fantastic. With your permission, I’d like to pass this info along to my FB and blog friends. THIS is how businesses should work: pay attention to the customer and give them what they want with all the info necessary. Kudos to them!

  2. Greetings:

    Thank you for blogging about Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I am attaching an updated list of the varieties sent by Tom. Many have been discontinued. We are still working through inventories on hand so they might still be on our website but once depleted will not be reordered.

    #2003 Xera green bean – discontinued
    #224 Fremont cauliflower – discontinued
    #2014 Tango eggplant – discontinued
    #2024 Cajun Delight okra – discontinued
    #103 Sierra Blanca onion – discontinued
    #2034 Cherry Bomb pepper – discontinued
    #642 Dulce pepper – discontinued
    #2830 Suharo pepper – discontinued
    #2033 Super Chile pepper – discontinued
    #2215 Sunray squash – discontinued
    #2369 Cornell’s Bush Delicata – discontinued
    #687 Table Ace squash – discontinued
    #241 Gretel eggplant – discontinued
    #2954 Cheddar cauliflower
    #2260 Fairy Tale eggplant
    #240 Hansel eggplant
    #2991 Candy onion
    #568 Biscayne pepper
    #2038 King Arthur pepper
    #2894 Serrano Del Sol pepper
    #2309 X3R Red Knight pepper
    #2365 Orange Smoothie pumpkin
    #2212 Prizewinner pumpkin
    #2368 Peter Pan squash
    #122 Beaufort tomato
    #2063 Big Beef tomato
    #733 Celebrity tomato
    #2854 Favorita tomato
    #2794 Geronimo tomato
    #2700 Maxifort tomato
    #2373 Trust tomato

    Ben Sturtevant – Web/Marketing/Public Relations coordinator
    Johnny’s Selected Seeds

    1. An updated list from Johnny’s

      103 SIERRA BLANCA onion
      224 FREMONT cauliflower
      240 HANSEL eggplan
      241 GRETEL eggplant
      568 BISCAYNE pepper
      642 DULCE pepper
      733 CELEBRITY tomatoes
      2038 KING ARTHUR pepper
      2063 BIG BEEF tomatoes
      2212 PRIZEWINNER pumpkin
      2260 FAIRY TALE eggplant
      2309 X3R RED KNIGHT pepper
      2365 ORANGE SMOOTHIE pumpkin
      2368 PATTY GREEN TINT summer squash
      2894 SERRANO DEL SOL pepper
      2954 CHEDDAR cauliflower
      2991 CANDY onion
      122 BEAUFORT tomatoes
      2794 GERONIMO tomatoes
      2700 MAXIFORT tomatoes
      2373 TRUST tomatoes

  3. To anyone who knows how Monsanto works, I’m sure they posted Johnny’s so that they would weaken their sales. That’s how they operate. I know several farmers and gardeners (including myself) who buy from them and wouldn’t if they believed Monsanto owned them etc. Thanks for the information, and keep supporting Johnny’s!

  4. Thank you for this and thank you to Johnny’s for updating! I live in Maine and have been increasingly frustrated with GMO’s and the lack of knowledge given out when you buy seeds/purchase food about what is GMO and what is not. I look forward to buying my seeds from Johnny’s this year (minus the Monsanto seeds) for my garden so I can provide a HEALTHY alternative to my family!

  5. I want to warn every smart grower to stay far away from, better yet, send hate mail to Jung Seeds for claiming that “they don’t knowingly sell any GM seed or plants”. (See page 46 in their latest catalog under Liability Statement and Philosophy on Genetically Modified Seed) Yet, if you go to their other site online, Jung Seeds Genetics, you will find plenty of scary stuff being released out their in OUR environment, including Roundup-Ready seed. How disgusting and deceiving of them!!!! Please beware and help me spread the word.

    1. You are confusing J. W. Jung Seed Company with Jung Seed Genetics

      They are different companies.. Jungseed is owned by Dick Zonteg and family, NOT MONSANTO, a direct descendant of J.W. Jung who founded it >100 years ago. Jung Seed Genetics was sold to Monsanto by his Uncle and Cousin. They are different companies, owned by different people and sell and do different things.

  6. Thanks for this. I just visited Johnny’s yesterday to see their field trials (well worth the 3hr trip!). And I asked why Xera (green bean) had been pulled from the catalog. All the person I said was that it had been discontinued due to supplier issues. Now I know why!

    We are down to a small hand full of seed suppliers you can trust, Johnny’s, High Mowing, Bountiful Gardens, etc.

    Get heirloom seeds and save them! It is the only way to preserve our food supply and protect it.

  7. I am so excited that Johnny’s is not associated with Monsanto, and that they are weeding out the few seeds from them. My husband and I just moved to Maine and while we only have a small veggie garden so far, we dream of growing all of our own food. One thing we know we want NONE of is GMOs. We certainly will stick with Johnny’s!! Thanks for this post, and Johnny’s, thanks for the updated lists!

  8. Thank you for the information. Related to this, I found out this morning that one of my favorites, J.W. Jung Seed and its subsidiaries (Totally Tomatoes, Vermont Bean, R.H. SHumway, Horticulture Products and Services, Edmunds Roses, McClure and Zimmerman, Seymour’s Select Seeds, Roots and Rhizomes, and Plants of Distinction) is owned by Monsanto. When you email them about this, they don’t respond to your emails and if you call they tell you that it’s none of your business. However, if you look them up by their corporate overhead name, Jung Seed Genetics, you find out that they are a part of Monsanto.

    Also, don’t know if you have seen this article, but it is a good one:

    1. A Heads-up! Note this previous comment…

      Anonymous said,
      March 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      You are confusing J. W. Jung Seed Company with Jung Seed Genetics

      They are different companies.. Jungseed is owned by Dick Zonteg and family, NOT MONSANTO, a direct descendant of J.W. Jung who founded it >100 years ago. Jung Seed Genetics was sold to Monsanto by his Uncle and Cousin. They are different companies, owned by different people and sell and do different things.


  10. Hi everybody,
    Here’s list of varieties that Johnny’s will carry for the 2013 season:

    DRO 138TX Rootstock Tomato
    TRUST Greenhouse Tomato
    MAXIFORT Rootstock Tomato
    GERONIMO Greenhouse Tomato
    FAVORITA Cherry Tomato
    BEORANGE Orange GH Tomato
    REBELSKI Greenhouse Tomato
    SIERRA BLANCA Sweet white onion
    KING ARTHUR Green to Red Bell Pepper
    BIG BEEF Greenhouse Tomato
    FREMONT White Cauliflower
    FAIRY TALE Striped Eggplant
    X3R RED KNIGHT Green to Red Bell Pepper
    ORANGE SMOOTHIE Small Pumpkin
    HANSEL Mini Purple Eggplant
    GRETEL Mini White Eggplant
    CHEDDAR Orange Cauliflower
    CANDY Onion
    BISCAYNE Specialty Pepper
    CELEBRITY Determinate Tomato
    PETER PAN Summer Squash

    David Manson
    Social Media Administrator
    Johnny’s Selected Seeds

  11. Steve R, many in the gardening, environmental, and food communities are concerned that Monsanto has a record of owning and then discontinuing an enormous variety of plants thereby reducing our choices and limiting biodiversity. Many believe these limits directly correlate to increases in our sensitivity/allergic reactions to foods as a population among other things. We have given them too much power and they actively use it to limit our choices and conceal information from both their customers and the general public. They, as yet, do not demonstrate the necessary business ethics that companies their size must in order to be trustworthy. Please google and learn what you can. It is surprising.

  12. Monsanto also has a history of suing neighboring farms with non-Monsanto corn when their windblown seed is found in the fields and their corn seed has infected the Mexican Corn Bank.

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