Trials examine water cutbacks' effects on berry flavor

06/19/2013 10:08:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

strawberriesCourtesy University of CaliforniaA statewide trial seeks to better understand berries' water requirements.As California continues to grapple with drought conditions and irrigation cutbacks, what will that do to berry quality?

Will flavor be concentrated and more intense, or will the berries suffer from a lack of flavor?

Those are the questions a group of University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisers hope to answer as they conduct irrigation trials around the state, according to a university blog.

They will compare four irrigation regimes: 100 percent or full irrigation, 75 percent of normal, 50 percent and 25 percent.

The studies on strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are being conducted in Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Fresno counties.

Fresno County farm advisor Richard Molinar recently brought samples of strawberry grown at the UC Kearney Ag Center near Parlier for patrons of the Vineyard Farmers Market in Fresno.

Tasters were asked to rank the berries on appearance, flavor and texture.

Beth Mitcham, a UC specialist in the UC Davis plant sciences department, will evalulate the fruit grown for other attributes, such as Brix, sugar-acid ratio and antioxidant levels.



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