Oregon owes a lot to AES vegetable breeders. Over the years, the AES vegetable breeding program has worked closely with Oregon’s multi-million-dollar vegetable processing industry to develop new varieties specifically adapted to Oregon’s soils and climate. Following World War II, the program got rolling under the leadership of W.A. Frazier, who focused on developing improved varieties of bush beans for commercial harvest, eventually releasing Oregon 91, which became a favorite with Oregon’s commercial processors.
Jim Baggett took over leadership of OSU’s vegetable breeding program after Frazier retired and developed dozens of new vegetable varieties for Oregon growers and gardeners. Building on the Frazier-bred Willamette tomato, Baggett introduced several more tomato varieties, including Oregon Spring, Santiam, and the cherry tomato Gold Nugget. Summer would not be the same without Baggett’s Sugar Loaf and Honey Boat squash varieties and his Oregon Pioneer peas.