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Vegetables' Nutritional Value Studied at UMass Farm

Allen Barker of the UMass Amherst plant, soil and insect sciences department introduces research on nutrition uptake in 12 heirloom and 12 modern hybrid tomato varieties as well as 19 cabbage types, conducted by the Center for Agriculture. Comparing levels of such minerals as calcium, magnesium and potassium in harvested vegetables, researchers can identify varieties that provide higher nutritional value, as well as soil enhancements (chemical, organic fertilizer or compost) that produced them. An interesting question to be addressed is whether modern hybrids, selected because they travel well and look pretty on the shelf, deliver lower nutritional value than heirlooms.