Sea Minerals: Improve Soil, Boost Nutrient Density of Food

[social_buttons]My employer, Sam Hilmer, is obsessed with soil. How obsessed? Let’s just say it’s best not to mention “silica” in his presence unless you have at least 30 minutes to kill. But Sam has good reason to be deeply invested in soil. He’s head farmer of Claverach, a small, organic farm and vineyard outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Sam, like a growing number of farmers, thinks beyond the standard “NPK mentality” of industrial agriculture – the belief that supplying just three minerals (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ensures healthy crops.

The nutritional quality of produce in America has declined significantly since 1950. Many researchers blame reductions in soil quality associated with industrial practices for this decline.

By only adding simplified chemical fertilizers to the soil, industrial agriculture does not supply all of the raw ingredients necessary for plants to synthesize secondary metabolites such as polyphenols – a group of compounds that play a key role in keeping us healthy.

One of Sam’s methods to amp up the nutrient density of his produce is to supplement the soil with sea minerals.

By providing micronutrients – trace elements other than nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium- sea minerals can enhance plant growth. Remineralizing the soil in this manner can increase the nutrition of the plants themselves.

Sea minerals contribute to the higher sugar levels (Brix scores) of Claverach’s produce. High sugar content makes the farm’s produce less watery and more flavorful. Sea minerals also give the farm’s veggies a complex (and wonderful) mineral taste.

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Image courtesy of Eidos (Mena) via a Creative Commons license.

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