Nutrient density in our food
November 28, 2022
What is nutrient density?
Mass-scale conventional farming may be helpful in solving the global food-demand crisis but not without consequences. The rampant use of nitrogen and other chemical fertilizers is stripping our food of important nutrients. So while we might have access to as many carrots, garlic and potatoes as we want, the real question is: are we getting any nutrients from them?
Nutrient-Dense food generally refers to food that is high in nutrients but low in calories. Research suggests that produce grown without chemical fertilizers have more nutrients at time of consumption.
How to measure nutrient density
At Purple Springs Nursery we grow our garlic completely chemical free. Just sunlight, water, and fortifying nutrition sprays. At multiple times throughout the growing season we measure the nutrient density of our garlic with a Brix Refractometer. The device rates sugar level content in food juice. The higher the reading, the more nutrients present in a plant.
Pictured: Kurstin Barta, Plant Health Manager, uses a garlic press to squeeze juice from an apple onto a Brix Refractometer
And the verdict is …
This year was an exceptional year in garlic. Our Brix readings were higher in early July than they were at time of harvest in 2021! By harvest 2022 (August) we were getting Brix measurements of ….
Pictured: Mason Guetter, Shipping and Operations Manager, stands in our garlic fields to show the difference 2 years can make.
If your produce is rating low on a Brix Refractometer, here are some things you can do to increase the reading (the higher the better):
+ add fish products (natural fertilizer)
+ epsom salts (sulfur, magnesium – increases photosynthesis)
+ kelp (gets the sugars moving!)
p.s. we use low-chemical, regenerative growth practices on our trees too!