grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How Soil Quality Impacts Flavor and Nutrition of Food

Bob Jones, Sr. from The Chef's Garden talks about how soil quality is the biggest factor in determining flavor and nutrition of edible plants.  This is not new to most of us but it is nice to hear it from folks growing food on a large scale like this.

The Chef's Garden is an organic farm outside Cleveland, Ohio that grows and sells edibles to chefs all over the world.

Not included in this video, Mr. Bob goes on to talk about the advanced testing methods they use to prove flavor and nutrition quality of their food.  I had the pleasure of tasting quite a few of their micro-greens and I was shocked by how intense the flavors were.


  1. The nutrients DO affect the flavor. My God! They do!!! I always say that Miracle-Gro is junk food and compost is home-cookin'. In the Caribbean, we sheet compost and that food is A M A Z I N G!!! Dominicans are too poor to buy MG, but we always have enough mango and plantain peels to bury in the gardens. Did you know that composing was banned in Haiti? Is it easier to understand why they're so poor? Keep a nation hungry and they won't revolt. But enough of that.... I don't want to get political (because I'm not well-informed enough to pull it off), but I do love to see the "common folk" make so with what they have. Although in Ecuador, the vendors who sell beautiful fruit and vegetables throw everything in the garbage because composing is discouraged. Hmmpph!

  2. composTing. Not composing. My bad.

  3. Wendy - composting is illegal in Haiti? Really?

  4. Yep. When Baby Doc was President, the Red Cross tried like crazy to educate people on food gardening and all that. He said no, no, no. Haiti is rocky, bad soil, and it shares its space with the DR. The DR is lush, full of fauna and foliage, beautiful soil. Fly over the island some time and you'll see one third is brown and two-thirds are green, green, green. We compost our heads off. I don't know if Haiti's new government is doing anything about this and after the earthquake, you would think that they'd do everything they could to rebuild, but politics is nasty business and one never knows what those with power will wield on its people.

  5. This is so elementary, and so true Gina. Feeding the soil is something my grandpa, who had degrees in horticulture and agriculture, talked a lot about. When I was ten and my parents bought our house, our first family projects were starting a large food garden and building a huge compost bin. We learned about crop rotation from my grandpa, who was a staunch opponent of monocultures.

    My family has always farmed and gardened this way, and it's good to see the old, tried-and-true ways gaining ground. Plain and simple, they work. Healthy, well-managed soil produces healthy, delicious food that's not nearly as bothered by pests as food grown in monocultures on dead soil. Conventional farming produces a vicious cycle of dead soil and poisonous chemicals, which results in tasteless fake food full of toxins and short on nutrition.

    Driving to Wisconsin to visit my mom earlier this spring, it made me sad passing a number of conventional farms, seeing dead soil on newly-plowed fields being stirred up and blown away as dust in the wind.

    What Wendy said is so true. The difference between poor and good soil management is probably not more stark anyplace else in the world than Haiti and the DR. Even just flying over them, the difference is crystal clear.

  6. It's Mr. Bob who recognized the need to return to age-old farming practices nearly 30 years ago, so we appreciate that you've allowed your readers to hear directly from the man who inspires us all on the farm. It was a pleasure to have you visit. Hope to see you again soon!

  7. The Haven Family saying It's all about the Soil is true! Great blog post : )