Syngenta Launches INSV Disease Resistant Romaine Lettuce

Innovation Impact
Stampede Romaine Lettuce

The Heroes of America’s Salad Bowl

For the last several decades, the Salinas Valley has been home for lettuce growers. Bountiful harvests and thriving crops painted a picturesque scene of prosperity, and the valley was known far and wide as America’s Salad Bowl. Lettuce growers, true cowboys of the land, have tamed the valley’s fertile soil for decades, sowing the seeds of abundance with their unwavering determination. These heroes have worked hard, day in and day out, to cultivate the finest leafy greens this country has ever seen. Working the land has always come with a host of challenges, but the tenacious Salinas Valley growers have long since been steadfast in their dedication to nourishing their community.

A Villain Called INSV

Alas, trouble arrived in the form of a vicious villain named INSV, short for Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus. This nasty virus rode in on a tiny insect called the Western flower thrip, and wreaked havoc on the romaine lettuce fields, spreading like wildfire and leaving a trail of crop failure in its wake. Though INSV was first discovered in the Salinas Valley in 2006, it wasn’t until 2019 that it led to consequential crop loss. The problem worsened year after year, with a staggering estimated $100 million in revenue lost in 2020, according to the Grower-Shipper Association1.

Once verdant lettuce fields showed signs of trouble as leaves turned a ghastly bronze hue. No matter how growers tried to bag or remove the infected plants, the virus was relentless in spreading throughout entire crops. Field after field collapsed like a calf giving in to a roper, leaving the land barren and the growers distraught.

Come 2021, growers were finding unique ways to dodge the virus and the devastation it brought, moving crops outside of the Salinas Valley. This proved to be a decent short-term solution, bringing some growers’ crop yields back up to 70%, according to California Ag Today2. But the Salinas Valley isn’t just any old place. It has earned its reputation for a reason, and it’s where our heroes belong; displacement is neither ideal nor feasible for all lettuce growers. In 2021, the virus pressure eased up a bit in the Salinas Valley in general, due to weather conditions. But as any cowboy knows, climate conditions can be as capricious as a buckin’ bronc in a weathered arena.

A long-term solution was needed, and fast. Growers were desperate to stomp out INSV once and for all so they could return to harvesting the crisp green lettuce the country was craving. With agricultural researchers and plant pathologists on the case, they trusted a solution would eventually come, but they worried that it might be several years down the line. In the meantime, growers expected they would continue to struggle with INSV and the intense disease pressure that would dramatically affect yields and the feasibility of growing certain lettuces at all. The future of their romaine crops hung in the balance, regardless of how much tenacity and determination the master growers exhibited.

With a feeling of defeat hanging in the air, tinged with a palpable anticipation of a solution on the distant horizon, a new player stepped into the chute, ready to explode into action.

STAMPEDE romaine lettuce came onto the scene commercially in 2022—after being successfully trialed in the Salinas Valley—from an industry leader, Syngenta Vegetable Seeds. Syngenta is a trailblazer known for its focus on creating innovative, top-notch solutions that help growers get more out of their crops, now and in the future. And boy howdy, does Syngenta deliver with STAMPEDE.

Syngenta Innovates for Growers

Syngenta has never underestimated the importance of taste and appearance, and decades of investment in innovation have allowed the company to bring new products to market. Syngenta develops solutions that satisfy both the retailers’ and consumers’ need for color, uniformity in shape and exceptional flavor, and STAMPEDE is a quintessential example of that commitment, with a fresh, crisp texture. Grit and courage collide where STAMPEDE romaine grows, making way for lettuce growers to do what they do best: produce a stellar product fit for the most discerning of consumers.

A New Era for Romaine Lettuce

With STAMPEDE having entered the arena, growers are seeing the sun rise on a future teeming with fields of green once again, with dusty, collapsed fields becoming a thing of the past.

The mighty STAMPEDE romaine lettuce is bred with genetic resistance to INSV, which means crop yield potential remains strong when faced with disease pressure. The supply chain can count on reliable harvests and a superior product, without being displaced from the fertile fields of the Salinas Valley.

STAMPEDE has proven itself in multiple trials conducted throughout the Salinas Valley, displaying unrivaled performance against INSV compared to industry-standard varieties.

Roping Victory with Reliability and Resilience

STAMPEDE romaine is poised to bring waves of relief to growers affected by the devastation over the last several years. Beyond its incredible disease resistance, STAMPEDE offers a gorgeous final product perfectly suited for carton, hearts or processing. The lettuce is bolting tolerant, and exhibits smooth, straight ribs with a tall, upright profile. By choosing STAMPEDE over more traditional varieties, growers can once again take their destiny by the horns and seize the security they need to plant with confidence. 

A Shining Horizon Awaits

With all the swagger of a seasoned Salinas Valley grower, STAMPEDE romaine lettuce changes the game for America’s Salad Bowl. STAMPEDE offers a resilient alternative to INSV-prone varieties, making virus showdowns in the lettuce fields of the Salinas Valley a thing of the past; our hero growers emerge triumphant before INSV can even try to take hold. Pursuing glory in the fields growers have come to know and love is now on the horizon for anyone who chooses to grow STAMPEDE romaine lettuce. And those INSV-carrying Western flower thrips? They will no longer get in the way of our valiant heroes doing what they do best on the land they call home.




© 2023 Syngenta. Some or all of the varieties may be protected under one or more of the following: Plant Variety Protection, United States Plant Patents and/or Utility Patents and may not be propagated or reproduced without authorization. The trademarks or service marks displayed or otherwise used herein are the property of a Syngenta Group Company.



  1. Wampler, Matt. “Lettuce Crisis Continues as INSV Devastates Salinas Valley Crops.” ClearCOGS, ClearCOGS, 29 Dec. 2022,….  
  2. Hsu, Mike. “Devastating Virus Challenges Lettuce Growers.” California Agriculture News Today, 17 Jan. 2022,