The benefits of farming without irrigation


No surprise, really. Certainly smaller strawberries are usually tastier than the jumbo large ones typically featured in grocery stores. Which leads me to believe that they tend to have “x” ammount of flavor, and letting them grow larger just dilutes the same ammount of flavor over larger berry.

It’s simple physics. If you take X amount of something, and spread it over Y x2 volume instead of just Y volume, you’ve just created a 1:2 dilution.

If you dilute a fruit, it has less flavor to it. One strawberry with twice the volume as another will have roughly half the flavor. Smaller, denser fruits don’t have to spread their flavor around as much, and they have much better tastes. The same is true of pretty much all foodstuffs.

I guess you could market the big, water-saturated strawberries and whatnot as “Homeopathic Fruits”?

Boutique fruit certainly have more intense concentrations of various flavor esters. But what about nutrients? Do those also stop accumulating at some level beyond which it’s all water?

If this is a discovery, it belongs in the origins of viticulture.

So essentially one more instance of modern humanity patting itself on the back for realizing something it forgot centuries before that was originally figured out millenia ago?

You mean a strawberry the size of the solar system? COOL!

You must really dilute your homeopathics to get that scale. :wink:

For those suggesting the concept of “flavor dilution”, it’s worth noting that the way a strawberry or any other produce responds to more hydration is probably considerably more complicated than simple dilution.

But the findings really beg the question of “how important are yields vs. flavor?” How much more expensive are these strawberries? Who can and cannot afford them? Who previously could afford them but now cannot?


I’ve told various restaurant the same thing. I think it also applies to dessert: restaurants that give you huge portions of dessert (which usually follow huge portions on the meal…sigh) tend to have flavourless desserts.

Wild strawberries…

I think the more important question is how increasing yield effects nutritional value per unit weight. If the sole difference is water content, then we’d be better off eating a smaller amount of the food and drinking some water on the side

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Oh, I’m sure it’s more complicated. But I wouldn’t be surprised if simple dilution makes a reasonable first order approximation.

Agreed. I’m more concerned with people at the margins having access to nutritious, inexpensive food. An article examining those elements would be much more illuminating to me than a string of anecdotes about taste.

I’ve always thought that this was the difference between vegetables that I grew up eating in Italy and the ones I eat here in the States.

The most obvious difference for me have always been zucchini. In Italy they are small and scrawny, with prominent ridges, making them fairly star-shaped in cross-section. In the US, though, they are large and swollen, the flesh between the ridges expanded such that they are usually completely circular in cross-section.

I have never really been surprised that my zucchini pasta doesn’t come out nearly as well here in the states.

If only my bucket-garden on the roof produced more than one tiny zucchini, perhaps I could use scrawny homegrown zukes.

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