A small tent near the main entrance to Bejo’s Open Days demonstrated not only how important taste is in making a carrot variety successful, but also how it can be influenced by other factor such as soil type and production area.
Designed to showcase an important part of this year’s Symposium, which had the theme of taste, health & innovation, it provided an interactive demonstration of factors affecting the taste and nutrition of different carrots. Samples of a number of Bejo varieties, such as Mokum which is becoming increasingly popular in the early sector thanks to its versatility and sweet flavour, were provided for visitors to taste and compare, not just with other varieties, but by tasting different samples produced on sandy and clay soils, for example.
In many cases the differences were striking, with many visitors feeling that clay soils produced an earthier, deeper flavour while lighter sandy soils produced a more subtle, sweeter taste. Having tasted the various samples of raw carrot on offer, guests could then register your preferences online using the Slido App on their mobile phones, with television screens in the tent providing instant access to the results throughout the week.
Bejo uses the results of taste trials to see how these factors can be used to improve and maintain flavour in a range of varieties around the world
Work by Bejo has found that a number of factors can influence the taste of carrots. In addition to soil type and crop nutrition, the area where the carrot is grown, the number of hours of sunlight it receives and other agronomic factors all have noticeable effects. “Bejo uses the results of taste trials to see how these factors can be used to improve and maintain flavour in a range of varieties around the world” says Bram Weijland, manager organic affairs. Not only could this help to make sure that what consumers taste is what the breeder intended, but it could also help to tailor carrot production for specific uses and different markets.