For over forty years Dr. James Baggett has been breeding vegetables
for improved quality, yield and disease resistance, with special
emphasis on adaptation to western Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
His varieties have turned out to be top performers in our part of
the country as well. We have sold at least a half dozen of them,
and currently offer four.
Remarkably for this transient era, Baggett, a native of Idaho,
has spent his entire career at Oregon State University, since receiving
his doctorate there in 1956. Probably most noted for his peas and
snow peas, he has also worked with green beans, lettuce, squash,
tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage. His credits include Sugar Loaf delicata
squash, #2797 Summertime, a slow bolting heat resistant head lettuce,
a number of particularly early parthenocarpic tomatoes especially
suitable for cold areas, and several bush beans with delicious Blue
Lake flavor widely grown in Oregon but not so well known elsewhere.
He figures his most important cultivars in terms of acreage grown
and economic impact are Oregon 91G bush bean and #826 Oregon Sugar
Pod II snow pea. Although he concentrates on breeding crops for
processing which meet the greatest economic need, Baggett has never
neglected home gardeners and small commercial growers.
His #4024 Oregon Spring Tomato, which ripens good-sized fruit
in even the worst growing years, has been the salvation of many
a Maine gardener. We’ve also enjoyed his mostly seedless Santiam
and Siletz tomatoes and his Gold Nugget cherry tomatoes. Eric Sideman,
MOFGA Research Director, highly recommends Siletz for growers seeking
early good-looking fruit to take to farmers markets.
His Oregon Trail bush bean was one of the best I’ve ever
tasted. It didn’t last long on the Fedco list because of slow
sales, but probably merits reintroduction.
His OSU II snow pea was bred for powdery mildew resistance. Our
1997 introduction #818 Oregon Giant was part of a continuous 43
year program to breed cultivars resistant to pea enation mosaic