Discovery Organics | Produce Savvy
197
archive,category,category-produce-savvy,category-197,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-1.7,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.3.4,vc_responsive
 

Produce Savvy

CROSS POLLINATION

New varieties and cross-pollination

Well, not actually, but answering a request from a few customers.

We see ‘new’ varieties of fruit every year, much more-so than vegetables.  20 years ago apples there were Gala, Fuji, Granny, Spartan etc.   10 years ago you saw new varieties added like Ambrosia, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.  And today, add Envy, Jazz, Opal, Pacific Rose and a few more.   Same story with grapes, like our introductions of Cotton Candy and Black Perlette.  So where do these new varieties come from?

cross pollination

READ MORE

Time to talk about GMO’s

With recent news that Germany has joined Scotland and a smattering of other countries in banning or trying to ban GMO seeds, time for a fast review.

gmo ban
First, although there have been many research studies into the impact of GMO’s and our bodies, the main impact is the class of GMO plants that are called “Roundup Ready”.  That means the plants are naturally resistant to the chemicals in Roundup, (glyphosate herbicide) so fields can be sprayed, and everything will die except, for instance, the corn crop.

Second, not that many food crops are genetically modified – but the ones that are, specifically corn and soy, find their way into virtually every processed food, from tortilla chips to soft drinks – some estimates are that up to 80% of grocery foods contain GMO’s – except those specifically marked as non GMO, or that are certified organic. Canola, Corn, Potato, Rice, Soybeans, Sugar Beets, Squash and Tomatoes are all approved for GMO production, and for some of these crops, 90% of what is grown in Canada and the US, especially canola in Canada and corn in the US is genetically modified.  Well, try to figure out, with that list, how many items in the grocery department are not ‘tainted’ with GMO’s – most estimates are over 80%, from corn flakes to baby formula.

OGM-mais9

The science will rage on for years, because for every study that tries to link GMO to human disease, the biotech companies like Monsanto, Dow, Bayer etc. will have a study that shows there is no problem with GMO’s, or glyphosate herbicide.

READ MORE

PRODUCE GRADING

POKING A BIT OF FUN!

Grades and standards for produce are at best mildly understandable, but mostly confusing, remembering that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  If you find it hard to understand, welcome to the produce world.  We will be issuing specific info sheets on grades (both official and unofficial) for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in the future.  This introduction is really intended to add a little amusement to the very confusing set of adjectives that you have to stumble through.

First, you have to understand that there are specific grading specifications for EXPORT.  A BC apple grower can send only export XFCY and FCY grade fruit, while other grades (Domestic, Commercial, Juice, Hail etc.) can only be sold within Canada. (Hail grade, BTW, are otherwise nice apples that have dents in the skin from hail– and yes, it’s an official CFIA grade!)

7-15-08

READ MORE

FAIR TRADE = DIRECT TRADE

Understanding supply chains and how they affect pricing

Many people are confused by the difference between Fair Trade and Direct Trade, but in most cases they are one and the same.  Understanding the ‘normal’ supply chain for imported commodities may help you understand the difference, and also see why Fair Trade produce is often sold at market pricing, despite the price guarantees, social programs and high standards that are set in stone in Fair Trade trading relationships.

APROMALPI-profile

 

READ MORE

WHY IS B.C. GARLIC SO DARN GOOD!

Garlic has been part of the staple diet of people literally around the world for millennia – and we eat lots of it – around 80 billion pounds of home and commercial production, which works out to 10 pounds per person per year across the planet.  Over the centuries, many different types of garlic have naturally hybridized creating a plethora of varieties, each one having adapted to growing conditions and light.  Garlic, being an allium (related to leeks and onions) is light-sensitive, (phototropic) and the amount of light controls when it grows, and how long it takes to mature.

garlic family

READ MORE

HEAT UNITS – WHAT ARE THEY? …AND WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT FOR YOU!

The term ‘Heat Units’ is also sometimes called Grower Degree Days.  Understanding what these are will give you a much better understanding of why there are gluts and gaps in the supply of fruit and vegetables, and corresponding price changes, which can sometimes happen in a few days.

Heat Units are measured using a rather complex algorithm that is based on the overnight low temperature, cloud cover, daytime high temperatures and humidity.  The Heat Unit measurement is predicted daily in weather forecasts, and is just as important information for farmers in daily weather updates as any other factor (rain, wind, etc.)

atmospheric_heat_diff_engine
PlantGrowthStages

READ MORE

APRICOTS AND APRICOT LIKE THINGS – PLUMS, APRIUMS, PLUOTS.

These lovely fruits are definitely an eastern European, Turkish, and Armenian touchstone when it comes to fruit, although their actual origin is in doubt – apparently some dudes took apricot trees from Manchuria along the silk trail, skirting the Black Sea, and planted them in Istanbul.  Turkey supplies over 50% of the dried apricots in the world.

ric-ergenbright-getrocknete-aprikosen-187470READ MORE

NEW METHODS TO ADD SHELF AND STORAGE LIFE

CONTROLLING THE ATMOSPHERE 

It was at an impromptu meeting in Lima in 2010 – a dozen fruit exporters and importers, Peruvian producers and packaging technicians sitting around a naked banquet table under a trade show tent – we were talking about new methods that would allow farmers to have better arrivals of fresh commodities to foreign shores with new plastics technologies. Sarah, a plastics researcher from England, said she would send us a new material she was working on to try out.  A few months later, we received our first samples – hoods of blue plastic that sealed an entire pallet, and the test subject was to be, as she had suggested, a pallet of grapefruit.

grapefruit-Stylised

READ MORE

APPLES – THE LOW DOWN ON CRUNCHY AND SWEET

Apples grow as a starchy fruit, and the starch converts to sugar as they mature.  Growers use two tools to measure when an apple is ready for harvest.  The first is a brix meter – a sensor probing the apple measures the amount of sugar in the juice.  The second is a penetration sensor that measures the firmness of the fruit.

Sweetness of apples can range from 11 to 16% sucrose to water, and pressure can range from 8 to 20 lbs.

pomolgie

READ MORE