Shepherd questions plant breeders closely, as well as local cooks—say, about a thick-walled pimento pepper in Hungary—then takes the seed back home to California and tests it. Each year on her four acres, she evaluates up to 300 varieties of seeds from Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Her strategy: Create more gardeners by offering only the best seeds.
“I want the highest possibility for total success and satisfaction,” she says.
—Adapted from “Seedswoman Renee Shepherd,” Hazel White, Horticulture.