Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fruit/ Vegetable Renaissance

With advances in genetic research, new fruits and vegetables bound for supermarkets are tastier, healthier — and more attractive; moreover they're not the products of genetic modification. The improved ability to identify and track genome traits has enabled researchers to cross-breed faster and more predictably than ever before.

“A main objective here is to bring flavour and flavour experiences to a new level in the produce department, so we’re doing this across the board—tomatoes, peppers, melons,” says David Stark, Monsanto’s vice-president of consumer benefits, one of the featured companies.

Red celery has been created by cross-pollinating existing commercial varieties with a vibrant red, but bitter, heritage celery root from Eastern Europe.

Crisphead Romaine Cross Lettuce is a cross between two popular greens. It has the popular crunch and taste of iceberg, but with the higher vitamin A and C content of romaine.

Red Brussels sprouts has a distinctive new appearance and improved flavour bound to be a hit with kids.

A new broccoli contains up to three times more glucoraphanin, a substance that helps the body reactivate antioxidants, enhancing the ability to tackle free radicals. Breeding commercial broccoli with a wild, Sicilian relative that contains higher levels of glucoraphanin.

It's encouraging to see that new, healthier varieties can be developed through advances in genetic research without genetic modification. What fresh, distinctive products do you enjoy?