Yield or flavor and nutrition?

When I was in college, I brought my grandmother an organic nectarine from the co-op in Champaign. She wasn't interested, saying, "I don't like nectarines," but finally acquiesced. When she tried it, her eyes lit up and she said she didn't like the ones in the stores any more since they were flavorless, but this one tasted like they did when she was a kid.
nice report just came out that puts together the increase in yield through modern farming with the loss of flavor and nutrients that has been dogging our foods. The bottom line is that while the volume of food per acre has increased, the nutrients per acre has not seen the same increase, so the food is less nutritious. Along with the loss of nutrition comes a loss of flavor (is it because of this that people are thought to lose their sense of taste as they get older?).
There's lots of great info in the
full report, but it's 36 pages plus introduction and footnotes, so let me hit a couple important points:

•At least 30% "of the U.S. population ingests inadequate levels [by their estimation of "average requirement"] of magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A". This also means "the average American consumes inadequate levels of 2.9 [of the 16 evaluated] essential nutrients each day". This is worse in women and worse with increasing age (women 19-30 years old average 3.78 deficiencies, nearly 1/4 of the nutrients studied). Specifically, vitamin E intake is inadequate in over 97% of adult women, with the average getting only half of what she needs (note that this is vitamin E from food which is more then just the alpha-tocopherol found in most supplements). [p. 8]
•By growing new, high-yield, varieties next to older varieties, they were able to demonstrate that the significant reductions in modern crops stems from the high-yield strains: between strains used in 1873 and 2000, iron dropped by 28%, zinc dropped by 34% and selenium dropped by 36%, in addition to a decrease in the quality of the protein. This means you must eat more food to get the same amounts of nutrients. [p. 14]
•This doesn't only apply to vegetables, but to other foods as well: as milk production per cow increased, the nutrient concentration decreased. [p. 18]
•The increased transit distance of or food (averaging at least 1,500 miles from farm to plate) means most food is picked green and ripened artificially, further diminishing nutrients: ripe blueberries have more than four times the anthocyanins (cancer-protective compounds) that green picked ones do, and picking apples and apricots green leaves them with no vitamin C, which is normally contained in the ripe fruits. [p. 19]
•Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also leads to further losses in nutrients. [p. 19]
•Organic foods do have higher concentrations of nutrients that conventionally grown crops. [p. 25]

Finally, they point out that due to the higher nutrient density of organic produce, it scores higher in taste than conventional produce. [p. 32]

Score one for my grandmother.