This past September, I was privileged to attend the seventh annual Circumpolar Agricultural Conference in Alta, Norway. Alta lies just below the 70°N latitude, which makes it a bit farther north than Old Crow.

The Circumpolar Agricultural Association (CAA) was founded in 1995 in response to the ideas created at the first Circumpolar Agricultural Conference, which was held in Whitehorse in 1992.

Quoting from the CAA’s website, the association is “a Non Government Association as understood by the United Nation definition … concerned with northern agriculture science, practices and policy.”

My interest in the conference was to find out what is being grown in other Circumpolar North countries. I am interested in agriculture in general and greenhouses or outdoor vegetable and flower production in particular.

I learned a lot of interesting things, but what I’d like to focus on is research that is being carried out in Norway regarding broccoli.

Two researchers, Anne Linn Hykkerud Steindal and Tor J. Johansen at Bioforsk Norway, one of many agricultural research stations, are working at answering these questions: does climate/light affect the nutritional content of broccoli, and do the bright nights, cool climate and short growing season of the North result in better quality and taste in broccoli?The project will examine the effects of light and temperature in a northern climate, and after harvest in the distribution of quality and bioactivity in Brassicavegetables , that is, first and foremost in broccoli, but with kale and a wild type of cabbage that referanse.Fokus will be the effects on the components related to sensory quality and health , ie, phenols, glucosinolates , carotenoids , vitamin C , fatty acids and sugar. Descriptive sensory analysis by a trained panel to perform. In addition, differences in bioactivity is studied using in vitro tests of antioxidant capacity and cell cultures for test of inhibition of growth of cancer cells.

(Source Nofima.no ) The project will examine the effects of light and temperature in a northern climate, and after harvest in the distribution of quality and bioactivity in Brassicavegetables , that is, first and foremost in broccoli, but with kale and a wild type of cabbage that referanse.Fokus will be the effects on the components related to sensory quality and health , ie, phenols, glucosinolates , carotenoids , vitamin C , fatty acids and sugar. Descriptive sensory analysis by a trained panel to perform. In addition, differences in bioactivity is studied using in vitro tests of antioxidant capacity and cell cultures for test of inhibition of growth of cancer cells.

(Source Nofima.no ) The project will examine the effects of light and temperature in a northern climate, and after harvest in the distribution of quality and bioactivity in Brassicavegetables , that is, first and foremost in broccoli, but with kale and a wild type of cabbage that referanse.Fokus will be the effects on the components related to sensory quality and health , ie, phenols, glucosinolates , carotenoids , vitamin C , fatty acids and sugar. Descriptive sensory analysis by a trained panel to perform. In addition, differences in bioactivity is studied using in vitro tests of antioxidant capacity and cell cultures for test of inhibition of growth of cancer cells.

(Source Nofima.no )

Last year’s preliminary results from tests conducted in controlled climate chambers and greenhouses gave an indication of the higher content of vitamin C in broccoli grown in a typical northern climate.

It seems that cool nights, long days and a short growing season make for a tasty and better-quality product higher in vitamin C and other health-related minerals.

Tests are also being conducted on other crops such as kale and cabbage. Norwegian researchers are comparing their finding with the same types of tests held in different countries such as Germany and Spain.The project will examine the effects of light and temperature in a northern climate The project will examine the effects of light and temperature in a northern climate

According to the Bioforsk website, researchers specify that they “are in the initial phase, and that [they] need results over several years before they can draw conclusions.”

The website continues, “It has previously been demonstrated that carrots grown in the North are sweeter than carrots from the South.”

Another component that I found interesting was that preliminary research is also focusing on “differences in bioactivity using in vitro tests of antioxidant capacity and cell cultures for test of inhibition of growth of cancer cells.”

We all know that vegetables are good for you, but it now seems that northern-grown vegetables may be better – an excellent reason to grow your own or buy local!