March 29, 2013
The Agri Post
Building Bricks of Good Nutrition By Les Kletke Diane Mauthe was on hand at Agriculture in the City to give consumers a look at what their food contains and how its makeup can affect the storage of foods. Mauthe, who is with Ag in the Classroom, is one of the principles that brings the 3-day event to the heart of Winnipeg offering consumers an opportunity to try a refractometre and measure the brix rating for several foods. “It (the refractometre) measures the light going through the food, which is affected by the amount of sugar in a food,” she said. “It has been used by wine makers for years but it is not something that consumers are used to.” She does not envision the day when consumers will be carrying their own refractometres with them on shopping trips but said that providing consumers with more information about their food helps them make better nutritional choices. That leads to more confidence in the safety of their food and, in some cases, choosing Manitoba produced products. A plant uses its leaves to convert the sun’s energy to plant energy through photosynthesis. It uses that energy to pull in nutrients and minerals for growth and health. A brochure provided at the booth, which was part of the display at the Forks March 15-17, set a definition of 10 BRIX as a beginning goal. “A higher BRIX will provide more nutrition, taste better and have a longer shelf life,” said Mauthe. An apple sampled at the booth by this reporter resulted in a BRIX rating of just above 11, which placed it in the good plus range. A rating of six was rated as poor and an excellent rating would be 18 or more. The chart also provided ratings for several forages like alfalfa and sorghum. Mauthe said that several of the activities included in Agriculture in the City had changed and a speaker competition between students presenting their views on agricultural issues proved popular and brought out several out-
Diane Mauthe of Ag in the Classroom demonstrates how the amount of sugar in a food solid may be measured with a refractometer. The display was part of Agriculture in the City. Photo by Les Kletke
standing orators. The competition was won by Courtney Jordan of Beausejour, who is a student at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba. In past years, the display at the Forks has also featured a piece of farm equipment, either a combine or a tractor, but that was not available this year and, due to the weather, was probably a good thing. Weather on the weekend was cold and windy keeping visitors inside the Forks market and visiting the displays of various producer groups.