BRIX QUESTION & ANSWER TABLE 2

Other brix charts Brix variation within a single fruit or vegetable Fuzzy demarcation line
Roadside buying II Can you get results higher than 32 brix Brix of weeds: what does it mean
Taste vs. refractometer Food rot in storage I Do you get fooled often when you buy
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Question:  Does everyone use the same brix charts?

Answer: Not at all.  For instance, take a look at this brix chart from Frog Hollow Farm.  I don't know where their data came from and I can hardly differ with their comments about the wonderful taste of higher quality fruit.  

http://www.froghollow.com/brix.html

There are many charts, but to the best of my knowledge they all try to group produce as "poor," "average," "good," and "excellent."

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Question:  Do the same farmers produce "good" stuff each year, or do you have to just keep going farm to farm and stand to stand every time you want something good?

Answer:  Modern chemical agriculture, which is mainly based on nitrogen and potassium, produces bigger, more watery fruit in wet years and smaller, more mineral dense fruit in dryer years.  My thought is that you can easily tell how close to true biological farming a certain grower is by how well he bucks that trend.  The short answer to your question is that you have to repeatedly check things.  It's a crap shoot unless you've got a refractometer along while shopping.

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Question:  Are we looking at this backwards?  Should we instead "test" the refractometer to see if it is accurate when measuring what our taste buds have identified as good?

Answer:  Most people insist that the refractometer is right on the money, but I have heard a story or two that someone, somewhere, found something with a high brix reading that didn't "taste good."  Perhaps the fruit or vegetable had some sort of contamination on it.

I've used an instrument for some 10+ years now and found higher brix simply tastes, smells, and, well, 'feels' better.  It even 'cuts' better (cleaner, crisper, and little browning).  Higher brix produce most assuredly looks better.

The refractometer gives you the visual validation that allows you to deprogram a lifetime of "this is what's good for you" misinformation heaped on us all by the USDA, nutritionists, and other "experts" around the world. 

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Question:  I use a refractometer and I've found a variation in a zucchini: namely, 1 brix at one place and 2 brix at another.  How can this be?

Answer: Dr. Arden Andersen, author of "Science In Agriculture,"  has stood his ground for years: brix variation in a piece of fruit or from one part of a plant to another is not good news. Something is still missing as far as soil balance.  However, 1 or 2 brix is so low that the rule may be moot. 

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Question:  The highest value I found on the brix chart is 30 for sorghum.  Is that the upper limit?

Answer:  Not at all!  For instance I recently heard a report of 42+ brix wine grapes.  If you grow things biologically (organic PLUS nutrient supplementation), you'll soon find it possible to grow your produce higher than the "excellent" range on the charts.  

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Question: The Brix Book keeps insisting that "good" food will not rot in storage.  Isn't this stretching things a bit?

Answer: Why does the average person have such trouble accepting the concept that truly good food, i.e., high brix, does not rot in storage?  Has a half century of brainwashing left us all unable to move into a new paradigm?  Have we all been trained, starting as little kids, that food is "supposed to rot in storage"?

Actually, only poor food rots in storage.  You really need to conduct your own tests to prove this---just as you've been testing poor food all your life.  Yes, all the food rot you've seen up to now was validating that poor food will rot in storage.  Now, find some excellent quality food and watch how it resists rot in storage.

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Question: I've paid close attention to the "fuzzy" line effect, which does seem to really matter, i.e., if two items have the same brix reading, the fuzzy line item will taste better than the one with a sharp line.  Why is that?

Answer:  First, simple sugar mixed in distilled water will give a razor-sharp demarcation line, whereas high-quality amino, proteins, oils, and other life goodies tend to widely refract.

Dr. Reams and his associates, after countless tests, insisted that the brix of the biological mineral-rich crops they supervised was always in the range of "50% sugar."  It has been my experience that "organic" produce, whether poor or good, tends to fall in the biological category.  On the other hand, the Florida Department of Agriculture insists that the sugar component of commercially grown citrus is 75%.  This is a huge difference. 

Now you must understand that the plant creates simple sugars as it's basic building blocks.  It then combines those sugars with various essential minerals to create vitamins, hormones, amino acids, complete proteins, taste factors, and those various other goodies.  I call those the factors of *life* versus the simple sugar building blocks.  

It is very important to understand that this is a dynamic process.  I.e., the plant is making sugar and then making the conversion to life factors all in the same day.

So, if the plant's ability to convert sugar into life factors is hampered by a lack of needed mineral (mostly the case with commercial produce) then the sugar tends to "back up," both in the leaf and in the fruit.  That rather easily explains how you can have two items of identical brix with one being "fuzzy" and the other being "sharp." The former is because the instrument is reporting a large and varied atomic distribution richly composed of those aforementioned "life factors."  The latter, sharper brix, of course, is a visual validation that much simple sugar is present.

Our taste buds are incredibly accurate registers---they well know the difference between simple sugar and large amounts of the substances needed to sustain life.

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Question:  Does the brix concept apply when measuring other things than what we eat?

Answer:  Yes, it does.  One of the more unusual tests is for a grower to evaluate the brix of his weeds in relation to the brix of his crops.  If the weed brix is higher than the crop brix, the grower will be under intense weed pressure---the weeds will simply outgrow the crop.  

You're probably aware that most commercial growers just "give it up" and start spraying selective herbicides when the weeds dominate.  The true biologically-savvy farmer knows he can keep his soil so balanced that the crop can smother out the majority of weeds.

As ridiculous as it may sound to the non-grower, there comes a point where the truly enlightened farmer who is overrun with weeds must admit that they were fertilizing for weeds instead of fertilizing for crops.  When that thought finally sinks in, they can go to work and analyze just what they must do to get their land suitable for healthy crops.

Trust me---the makers of toxic plant protection chemicals (herbicides and other pesticides) do not want you to ever understand the few words written above.  You can count on them getting huffy as they point to their PhD degrees on the wall and shout, "That's ridiculous!"

Nuff' said?

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Question:  Do you ever misjudge and buy poor quality produce?

Answer: Indeed I do!  <sheepish grin>  I spent many years of my life being fooled 90% of the time about the taste and quality of produce. The whole world tried to tell me things were "good" when my body was emphatically saying "not so."  But what did I have to judge against?  "Experts" are powerful and even if you know something is wrong, you tend to look in other directions when told to do so.  I've now carried a refractometer for about 11 years and I'm only fooled about 10% of the time these days when buying fruits or vegetables. 

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