Fresh produce news

I never cease to be amazed at the versatility of fresh fruit and vegetables, and this week I want to move away from the market floor for a moment and share some news snippets I’ve come across recently.

Breakthrough
Scientists are claiming that the plant compound salvestrol is the most significant breakthrough in nutrition since the discovery of vitamins. Salvestrols are found in the skin of fruit and vegetables and are said to play a crucial role in combating diseases such as cancer. One problem, though, is that our modern farming practices, and in particular the use of fungicides, have apparently led to reduced salvestrol levels in commercially grown crops. Organically grown crops have a higher salvestrol content.

Mangoes
By world standards, the South African mango industry is small, but we generally manage to hold our own against the big boys. In a recent Subtrop Journal, I was interested to read that Pakistan produces around 1,5 million tons of mangoes a year. It also said that one out of 20 mangoes consumed in the world is grown in Mexico.

Children
An article in the same publication noted that a company has produced a range of fruit-flavoured snacks for four- to eight-year-olds. This follows research that shows that children increasingly influence their parents when shopping for fresh produce. They have more knowledge, thanks to the Internet, and will frequently use this knowledge when determining which fruit or vegetable they like.

Litchis

In Taiwan, researchers have taken two decades to develop a new variety of litchi that provides two harvests (don’t ask me how), can be refrigerated longer and is rose-scented. They say the flesh is ‘delicate and chewy’.
A rose-scented litchi? I need time to get my mind around that one!

Staying with litchis, I don’t know how far the issue has progressed, but our SA Litchi Growers’ Association is currently fighting a government plan to allow litchi imports into South Africa from Madagascar.Imports from our main competitor when our own litchi industry is battling to survive? Has the department of agriculture completely lost its marbles?