High Brix Defines Farm-fresh, non-GMO and Organic Food
Last Fall I drove an hour each way for 50 lbs. of farm-fresh, non-GMO produce — squash and carrots. I was on the trail of Winter storage vegetables with a high brix count. Farmer Timothy, along with a very extended family, run a farmer’s market business on NY Rt 11B in the Champlain Valley and are working diligently with the fertility of their soil to produce high Brix nutrient-dense foods:
Nutrient Dense Foods have very high levels of vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and trace minerals. As a result they have the greatest impact on improving health and providing nutrition against disease. Major minerals are abundantly supplied as are trace elements such as selenium, chromium, iodine, and cobalt.
What is Brix?
Named after Professor A. F. W. Brix, a 19th Century German chemist, brix measures the sugar content of any sap from fruit or leaf. These sugar carbohydrates, or lack thereof, have tremendous implications for digestion and health. Sugar carbs were designed to carry a payload of minerals — particularly calcium and, also, trace minerals which function as coenzymes to the primary enzymes needed in the digestive/elimination process.
To put it another way:
- BRIX equals the pounds of sucrose, fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and other solids in one hundred pounds of a particular plant juice.
- BRIX varies directly with plant QUALITY.
Measuring a drop of any edible liquid, a simple tool called a refractometer indicates a number; it is compared to the official Brix Chart developed by Dr. Carey Reams decades ago. Reams’ research and present day application show that high brix readings equate with superior nutrient content. The Weston A. Price Foundation has an interview on their website with a long-time farmer and his mission to rebuild his soil to grow high-brix crops.
Taste, itself, is predicated on the carbohydrate and mineral levels in fruits and vegetables. Wine makers have known for many generations that the best wine always comes from high Brix grapes growing on vines in high brix soil. Ask those who might remember — ask if the food they buy or even grow organically nowadays tastes and smells as good as they remember from childhood. Most all produce in every market is a depleted caricature of its succulent original design; serious degeneration of soil nutrient-density being noted by an official US Senate document from 75 years ago.
Minerals, being rocks, are heavy. This is why not to buy that gorgeous but feather-light sweet potato even if it is labeled organic — it will need to be candied with concentrated carbohydrate to mimic the taste of a high brix sweet potato. You’d have the fiber, naturally, but the serious carb calories it packs may barely be worth the actual nutrient value. In any case, lots of real butter, raw cream, and/or organic cheese will augment your carbohydrate metabolism.
High-brix plants are insect- and disease-resistant
Brix is more than just sugar, though. The higher the reading of leaf brix, the more the plants will be insect and disease resistant. Weak plants with low brix numbers emit an electromagnetic frequency that attracts predators. Insects don’t tune in to the frequency of a high brix plant — any reading over 12 is rare. Mold, mildew and plant diseases cannot take hold of healthy plants. Now, just how brilliant is this elegant natural system whereby poor quality is naturally culled, leaving the nutrient-dense produce for human consumption? So when nutrient-dense farming is, by definition, high brix, then the result is naturally organic, by default.
He also wrote:
“The use of sprays (pesticides) is an act of desperation in a dying agriculture”.
Animals instinctively know what to eat, and seem to know a high brix meal when they smell one. Wild deer will not graze GMO (genetically modified) corn unless near starving. Production agriculture has discovered that it takes two times the acreage of GMO corn to get the same weight gain in beef as when using non-GMO conventional seed stock. Cattlemen know how to gauge alfalfa brix by watching which fields’ bales/stacks of hay are eaten first. GMO contamination is a crucial issue that poses great danger for the future of agriculture and health worldwide. The Organic Consumer’s Association had an action item on Americans’ right to the labeling of GMO foods in the marketplace. Another article here on We Want Organic Food discussed food origin labeling back in 2008.
There is a sweet and real substance to the robust Scarlet Nantes carrots from Martin’s Farm, and I am not alone in this delicious observation. Their work with precise analysis and soil amendments over the course of several years has raised his carrots’ brix from 5 to 8.5. He has worked with International Ag Labs, who state on their website:
We recognize, of course, that mineral composition is not the only component of nutrition to be found in plants. It is the cheapest to analyze and is the foundation of all the other nutritional components of plants such as vitamins, amino acid profile, enzymes, sterols, and essential oils among many others. Since all these components contribute to the total dissolved solids we use the brix readings as the general indicator of quality and the mineral composition as the specific indicators of quality.
The pastured beef, poultry/eggs and dairy I might source at Martin’s will have foraged on these same high brix plants — hence they'll be of high nutrient-density and worth every effort.
Average-plus — about 8 on a scale that goes to 18 — is the highest brix produce I was able to find last growing season, both locally and shipped in.
The farmer said as he weighed, generously, his $.35/lb. squash and his $1/lb. carrots:
"I believe in giving full measure."
Well … I believe it more important that farmers be given fair recompense and decided $.50lb and $1.15 respectively was a steal for me even with the drive. Do the math on a 2-pound squash that will nourish four easily, and you'll agree that a quarter a serving is cheap at twice that price, especially since I know it both tastes and tests as the finest available.
Agricultural commodities have been skyrocketing, forcing double digit percentage increases in retail food prices over the past year, so do your best to search out a local producer and put-by some food for uncertain times.
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