Thanks for contacting Ask An Expert on your question about seeds.
In this case, “best” is not a simple concept. “Best” seed may be judged by the amount of vegetables harvested, by the quality (taste) of the vegetables themselves, or even by the percentage of seed that germinates (comes up).
Whether the taste of a vegetable is “best” is largely determined by the particular variety planted and by what the gardener likes. The amount of produce a gardener gets is a combination of the limits of the variety chosen and the growing conditions (soil, water, sun, etc.) that it is exposed to. All seed sold in packets must adhere to both federal and state standards set for minimum germination, so the gardener can have confidence in this aspect of a seed’s performance.
The companies that sell packet seed on racks in retail stores, for the home gardener, rarely grow all their own seed, but depend on experienced, specialty growers. They may deal with organic growers or herb specialists or the leading producer of kohlrabi to offer the selection of varieties that they place in stores.
There are many quality brands of seed, but far more of what determines a “great” crop is up to the weather, the site, and the gardener’s attention, than to which company is chosen.
The Oregon State University Extension Service catalog has a number of publications related to vegetable gardening and seed starting.
Vegetable Gardening in Oregon (EC 871)
Vegetable Variety Trials 2010 (EM 8777-10) These vegetable trials are no longer conducted, but this publication may have some varieties you are interested in.