Soon: A portable instrument to help you analyze crop quality in the field

On Nov. 28-30, Renewable Farming will take an introductory look at a new, handheld instrument which will help producers, food retailers and buyers get an instant indication of quality in the product.

Bionutrient meter schematic

Nov. 17, 2017 — That'll take some training and experience, of course. But the learning curve should be rather short for growers of specific crops. Renewable Farming's Blake Carlson will accompany seasoned crop consultant Bob Streit to the 2017 Soil and Nutrition Conference in Southbridge, MA where the "Bionutrient meter" will be shown in prototype form for the first time. 

The Bionutrient Food Association is launching a "Real Food Campaign" which will use the Bionutrient Meter as a means of identifying quality and nutrition. That will help accelerate their goal: "Increase Quality in the Food Supply."

You can browse the entire conference schedule and speakers at this link.  Note that one of the featured presenters is Elaine Ingham, whose "Soil Foodweb, Inc." is instrumental in training growers how to build biological life in soils as the foundation for long-term fertility and productivity.

The Bionutrient Food Association which organized the upcoming conference is another expression of America's accelerating interest in really nutritious food. Much of the fresh food on supermarket shelves looks attractive, but it's nowhere near as nutrient-dense and flavor-packed as the same species of fruit and vegetables were 50 years ago. 

Even if you raise only commodity crops like corn and soybeans, an emphasis on nutrient density in what you raise can lead to long-term premium markets. Today the corn market down at the co-op pays just for bushels. The lifeblood of the grain industry is blending your high test-weight, nutrient dense corn, beans and wheat with other "stuff" to meet minimum export standards.

In the future, possibly the near future, that'll change for the better. Our local supermarket produce manager had never seen a brix meter, for example. When we showed him the difference in brix levels between his high-quality organic grapes (Brix of 16) versus the regular imported grapes from Mexico (Brix of 9), he got the picture instantly. 

Reading the spectrum on a Bionutrient Meter will offer a lot more information about nutrient density and help predict consumer appeal.  Eventually, a set of standards could emerge from this ability to measure foodstuffs quickly and inexpensively.