“Dear Horticulturist, I buy my seed from a few different seed companies. I’m gearing up for my winter crop and recently tried to purchase some Fat N Sassy Pepper seed. The companies I buy from always have it and now they tell me that it has been discontinued. Really? From what I know of it, it’s a rather popular one. Are you aware why this variety is no longer on the market? Thanks, John”
Thanks for your email. I have good news and bad news for you. Let’s go with the bad news first:
–The Bad: No one will ever see Fat ‘n Sassy on the market again. It has been discontinued by that name. The name was a marketing scheme developed by Seminis while still their own company. Not sure on all the details, but basically what they did was take a variety that they were marketing as a commercial variety, give it a new name, and sell it under the new name to the home garden seed companies (and thus their customers). As you may have caught on, that is a HUGE!!! no-no in the various laws developed by the Federal Seed Act (FSA) and the USDA.
–The Good: I usually have nothing good to say about Monsanto, but this is an occasion where I will give them a bit of praise. Whether they just happened to realize that Seminis had some shady naming practices or they got a knock on the door from Uncle Sam and busted for shady naming practices, we don’t know. But either way, they are now doing the right thing and calling the product by its correct name.
And so, we come to the name change. The –real– name of Fat ‘n Sassy is… King Arthur Hybrid.
Are you disappointed? If so, you join me and others by having your image of plump, juicy peppers burst by King Arthur’s Excalibor sword!
For those of you that are not familiar with this variety by either name…
The cultivar, ‘King Arthur’ is a widely adapted bell pepper with resistance to some virus’ and bacterial spot races. The largest early pepper. Cold weather can cause misformed fruits. To keep compact, pinch leaves on young plants. Full sun and monthly fertilizer treatment produces best growth and fruiting results. C. annuum is the most cultivated pepper in the world, both commercially and in home gardens. They are relatively easy to grow, as long as they receive plenty of moisture and nutrients, are not subjected to cold and receive plenty of sunshine. They grow in an endless variety of colors and range in shape from small round cherry peppers to long, pencil-shaped cayenne varieties. Seeds should be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost. When the temperature reaches 70 F, transplant 12 to 16 inches apart, fertilize, and again when they are 12 inches tall. The pepper is rich is goodness, one medium-sized pepper will provide almost the entire daily adult of vitamin C requirement and also contains vitamins such a B1, B2 and D, plus numerous minerals.
I hope this helps clear up the mystery. As a word of warning, Fat ‘n Sassy is not the only one you will see going through a name change. Also on the renaming chopping block are many favorites like Dusky Eggplant, Kung Pao Pepper, and many more.
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