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Retail produce managers take note: Among the gardening trends for 2012 is the desire to grow one’s own produce. This includes large rural gardens that can stretch an entire back yard to small, urban plots nurturing just the essentials.

The yearning for fresh produce transcends any one trend to encompass local, fresh, traceability and nutrition. Even the White House has gotten into the act, with the First Lady carving out a piece of the lawn for some home-grown vegetables as part of her Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign.

So, for some shoppers, going to the supermarket and buying fresh produce just doesn’t cut it. It might be local, it might be fresh, it might be organic… but it just isn’t what they’re looking for.

These are the consumers that Burpee is looking to attract. The seed company's veteran experts have selected six of the most nutritious and delicious vegetables to create the Boost collection of six vegetables, each “best-in-class” for taste and nutritional oomph.

The varieties chosen, in part based on their high antioxidant content, include the Tomato ‘Solar Power’ Hybrid, the Pepper ‘Sweet Heat’ Hybrid, the Tomato ‘Power Pops’ Hybrid, the Lettuce ‘Healing Hands’ Salad Mix, the Tomato ‘Cherry Punch’ Hybrid and the Cucumber ‘Gold Standard’ Hybrid.

The specific benefits vary by plant, according to Burpee officials. For instance, a half-cup of Cherry Punch tomatoes delivers 90% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C; the cukes can produce five times the amount of beta-carotene of other garden cucumbers.

The salad mix (Healing Hands is a great name) salad mix can be harvested every three weeks for several salads throughout the growing season. The mix includes lettuces that produce lutein, beta-carotene, carotenoids and anthocyanins…. Not fun to pronounce maybe, but fun to eat.

Gen X and Gen Y are two groups of consumers that have truly been bitten by the home gardening bug. According to trend-watchers, their interests include recycling, re-purposing and upcycling, and blending old with new, to preserve and protect the earth’s resources.

If you don’t sell seeds, you might be missing out on a key sales opportunity, and a chance to engage with two consumer groups that are exhibiting more and more purchase power.

{Photo credit: Mr. T in DC]

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