Drought-Stressed Crops May Be Better For You
Another day, another angle on our drought. Today’s thought-provoker comes from KQED’s coverage of experiments in California’s dry Central Valley to farm crops with far less water. Among the findings? Stressed pomegranates grow smaller, but with more antioxidants than those grown with ample irrigation.
Reporter Sasha Khokha pays a visit to our friend Joe Schirmer of Dirty Girl Produce. Schirmer practices dry farming, an ancient technique that limits supplemental irrigation drastically. His Santa Cruz, Ca farm is just warm enough to properly ripen a tomato, but cool and foggy enough that no irrigation besides rainfall is required.
We reported on Joe in 2012 for a big story on the tastiest vine-ripened tomatoes. Here’s an excerpt:
When an ‘Early Girl’ is dry-farmed, says Schrimer, “They hit the end of the moisture and totally freak out They make this last-ditch effort to go to seed, and every last bit of energy goes into that fruit. Suddenly, they take on this extra-earthy taste. People go nuts for these tomatoes.”
Today’s radio story made me realize that his crop might actually be a triple threat: Tasty, sustainable, and maybe even healthier.