Field Grown Wheatgrass vs Greenhouse Grown Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass Outdoor vs Indoor

Customer Question

I am super curious as to why your juice tastes and smells so different to home or greenhouse grown wheatgrass juice. I’ve grown my own juice for a while and just purchased my first batch of your juice and was shocked at how different it tastes. It’s a milder and more “salad like” taste. A good thing, but makes me wonder what the difference is. Do you know for certain that the juice you produce is more nutrient dense than normal homegrown wheatgrass?

The Answer

The two major tastes of bitterness and sweetness are not present in the natural wheatgrass plant and therefore, are not found in our juice. These tastes are not natural, they are created by growing wheatgrass in an artificial environment. Let’s explore these:

Bitterness

This is caused by mold growing with the plant. Having mold is virtually 100% guaranteed in the greenhouse. It’s presence has nothing to do with whether or not someone is a conscientious grower. Mold spores cover ever square inch of the planet. The question is simply whether or not you create an environment conducive to mold growth. The greenhouse does and it simply isn’t controllable although it can be reduced with good management. Mold is strange stuff. It’s presence can range from virtually non-existent to terribly overgrown. Types can be blue-green, white whispy, brown or black. They can be highly poisonous or non-pathenogenic. What molds do is create a bitter taste and when present, they also releases poisons called mycotoxins. Mycotoxis are unusual in that an identical wheatgrass drink can have a serious negative affect in some individuals and for others, the exact same juice won’t affect them at all.

Mold presence is easy to spot. It creates bitterness in taste, holding your nose due to a protesting orafactory sense (not specifically due to bad smell), dizziness after ingestion, instant splitting headache, nausea and with many over 4 fl oz of consumption may cause them to vomit. These things have frequently been incorrectly characterized as “detox” when in fact they are low grade food poisoning. Bitterness is not present in our juice because there are no detectable molds and of course, also no negative side-effects.

Sweetness

Sugar levels in juice are rated in Brix. Outdoor grown wheatgrass juice tests at 0 Brix (no sugar). Tray grown wheatgrass juice tests anywhere between 5 Brix and 20 Brix. 1 Brix equals approximately 1.5% sugar and wheatgrass juice grown in the greenhouse will normally have about 15% sugar. In the field, these simple sugars convert to complex carbohydrates and our juice is test as sugar free.

Exact Nutritional Differences

No one knows the exact differences between any products. What we have are certain markers (say Vitamin C) but it is a gross exageration for anyone to declare full knowledge based upon a few markers. What I have done is attach a picture of wheatgrass grown outdoors vs grown indoors. You will see that the plants look nothing alike. However, the plants in both photos are ours and they were grown with the same seed. The outdoor field grown photograph is from one of our fields, the indoor grown grass for a photo shoot we commissioned.

You just need to know that nutrition in the plant is formed when it responds to its external environment. In nature, when the wind blows, plants strengthen their root system. When it is cold, the roots release potassium into the plant. When precipitation is low, the nutrients become more densely packed. When it rains, the plants absorb water and in the case of wheatgrass, the juice sweetens. The differences are literally infinite!

When we look at the markets, most nutrients run 10% – 20% higher while others can be as high as 50% higher or more. Here is a link to the most complete greenhouse grass testing ever done https://goo.gl/KnLAkv and here is a link to our nutrition facts testing https://goo.gl/hpuFxI. In this case, the potassium level for indoor grasses is 42mg / oz. In our testing, the potassium was 162mg / oz or 285% higher. Iron indoors is 0.17 mg / oz. Iron outdoors is 0.3 mg / oz or 70% higher. Just a couple of examples, you can check out the rest on your own. Remember that testing is just a snapshot of a point in time. There will always be variations and you are simply looking for trends.

Even given this info, you don’t buy our wheatgrass juice because it has better nutritionals. There are tremendous benefits in tray grown wheatgrass too! You buy our juice because it has great quality, the price is awesome and most important, it is mold free which improves its taste and tolerance. Someone can’t benefit from wheatgrass juice if they can’t drink it!

Where Does Cereal Grass Like Wheatgrass Grow?

Cereal grasses are one of the most important food groups that we can consume. Every cereal grass, from the green leaves of barley, wheat, rye, and oats, are nutritionally similar. These grasses differ from the mature seeds in terms of their nutritional and chemical consistency. Plant nutrients attain their peak heights as they near their brief, but critical, jointing stage. There are several stages that are required to let cereal grass grow properly, but the three most important stages involve good soil, the right moisture levels, and the right temperatures.

Suitable soil

Good topsoil is a must to let cereal grass grow properly. Some combination of healthy composted soil is also a possibility. In Ontario, for instance, the Ontario Greenbelt forms an ideal growing ground for a variety of different products including wheatgrass. The Greenbelt forms two million acres of protected farmland, wetlands, forests, and watersheds from development. The Canadian government also protects the Greenbelt, making it an ideal location for sustainable agricultural development.

Some of the best areas in the world to grow cereal grasses are those that consist of a hybrid mixing of soils from different areas. These areas provide nutrient-rich soils that allow cereal grasses to grow to their full potential. Hands-on crop rotation and land management is key to keeping soil at its optimal level for cereal grass growing conditions.

Suitable Moisture

The soil needs to be damp in order for these cereal grasses to develop properly. As it grows, these cereal grasses are watered daily or every other day to keep the soil moist. Cereal grass growers are careful to avoid wet and swamp conditions, as this can cause the young seeds to develop mold. Overwatering the soil is a common culprit, but the benefits of growing outdoors help protect plants from succumbing to mold.

The best environment for growing cereal grasses is one with consistent rain levels that don’t get excessive. Of course, there are a variety of different environments to which plants can adapt. Because the soil in the Greenbelt is so variable from farm to farm and even from field to field, cereal grasses and many other forms of produce have a unique advantage.

In periods of heavy rains, soils with high contents of sandy loam that also drain well will produce the best crops of cereal grass. In drier periods, heavy clays help retain moisture to produce the best crop. A combination of both of these types of farmland makes for the ideal cereal grass growth environments.

Ideal Temperature Conditions

Excessive heat is not productive for young cereal grass to grow as they are trying to sprout. Many companies attempt to grow cereal grasses indoors or in greenhouses, but they often creates a product with less nutrition that is also prone to mold. Temperate climates with consistent rainfall provide the best growing conditions for cereal grasses to develop.

All of these together are essential factors for these cereal greens to effectively progress through their growth stages. Nutrient concentrations vary based on the growing conditions and the growth stages at which the grasses are harvested. While it is possible to grow cereal grasses indoors, you get a better product from field grown cereal grasses. The root systems are deeper, the growth cycle is ten times longer, there are no simple sugars, the nutrient levels are much higher, and the taste is noticeably better.

 

 

USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities of different foods and you can learn more about it here at Wikipedia ORAC.

In terms of wheatgrass juice, there is a study done with regards to Wheatgrass Juice ORAC Rating.

It is a wet weight reading and shows:
ORAC range of 3,990 – 4,820 per 100 grams

Correlation between the high antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables, and the positive impact of diets high in fruits and vegetables, is believed to play an important role in the free-radical theory of aging. It was developed by the scientists at the National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, but this method is not approved by the National Institute of Heath. The US Department of Agriculture lists a database of the ORAC value of common foods (no wheatgrass).

ORAC is one of those confusing numbers as a number of health food companies spin the numbers. When comparing ORAC data, some evaluations will compare ORAC units per grams dry weight, others will evaluate ORAC units wet weight and still others will look at ORAC units/serving. Under each evaluation, different foods can appear to have higher ORAC values and most of these values have never been published in scientific literature. To make it just a little more confusing, it is not known whether such values are accurate or how absorbable and functional these concentrated antioxidants are in the human body.

If the data was being spun for marketing purposes, it could be represented as dry weight which would show:
99,750 – 120,500 per 100 grams

For proper comparison purposes, you should use the range of 3,990 – 4820 per 100 grams. Note that 100 grams represents about 3.4 fl. oz. of wheatgrass juice.

Fall 2012 Harvest

Wheatgrass Farm Fall HarvestIt is fall harvest time! Please excuse us during this time as telephone and email coverage is a bit difficult…also, orders are best placed online. We’ll do our best to respond but be will be focused on juice making first for the next 3 weeks or so.

 

Recycling The Shipping Boxes

recycled-shipping-boxSpecial thanks to Laurie in Calgary, AB, Canada for showing an amazing way to repurpose our shipping boxes. She turned them into beautiful planters (see the two boxes on the right side of the picture) after being inspired by this how-to link.

For the rest of us…the boxes are 100% recyclable if you can get them to a type 6 recycling center. You can find these centers for drop-off and mail-in by following this link:
Recycling Locations

DynamicGreens Wheatgrass Juice Is Gluten Free

gluten-freeYes! Our wheatgrass juice is safe and tested gluten free, but many wheatgrass products should not be used. Please read this entire message for a complete understanding.

I can recommend our wheatgrass juice to you without reservation. You will be pleased to hear that there is no gluten in our wheatgrass juice (click here for test results). The reason is that gluten is produced by an enzymatic process. Enzymatic processes are ones in which two or more ingredients come together to create an entirely different substance. As gluten is the product of an enzymatic process which combines proteins only present in the grain, wheat grass and wheatgrass juice do not contain gluten. When we harvest grass to make the juice, it is 7″ – 11″ high and in a completely green, grassy state. In our process, there are many weeks between planting and harvesting and no overlap between equipment that touches seed and equipment that cuts or juices the wheatgrass. We have many customers with gluten tolerance issues or celiac disease that have used and continue to use our wheatgrass juice with no problem.

That said, I did spend some time on Celiac.com and have some important information for you. Jamba Juice which has a gluten free menu does not list wheatgrass juice as being gluten free. This seems to be a handling issue as there is too much contact with the seeds that do contain gluten and some are so sensitive to gluten that just a brushing contact may set them off. I’m concerned that the close contact with the seeds may be a problem in indoor grown products where the grower is moving from planting (touching seeds) to juicing in the same daily cycle. There are reports of issues on Celiac.com.

To summarize, I can only recommend our wheatgrass juice (DynamicGreens) because we control the process and can assure you that there is no cross contamination between seeds that contain gluten and juice. Celiac.com users have reported problems with other products and Jamba Juice in particular does not give gluten free assurances.

Wheatgrass Gluten Free Test