Nutrient Dense versus Nutrient Rich

In nearly any industry, there are often terms that are used interchangeably, which should not be the case with ‘nutrient-dense’ and ‘nutrient-rich.’ Nutrient dense foods refers to the overall value of nutrition of a food when compared with something else. For example, broccoli is more nutritionally dense than zucchini squash.

‘Nutrient-rich,’ though, means that a particular plant has a higher level of nutrient than another (of the same kind). For example, broccoli that is grown with nutrient promoting methods will have a higher vitamin and mineral content than broccoli grown without such methods.

What this means for us as consumers is that two pieces of the same fruit, vegetable or meat may possess wildly different nutritional richness dependent on how they were farmed, grown or cared for.

When you go into the supermarket, that piece of kale you pick up, for instance, might have been sprayed with any number of pesticides or other harmful chemicals. In effect, that kale might look delicious, but its nutritional richness has been destroyed. The USDA has been tracking the nutrient content of 43 crops for 60 years—and according to data, there has been a progressive rate of decline in nutrition. Frankly, people are unaware of the problem or its seriousness.


Thankfully—for all of us—there are solutions out there right now. Nutrient Dense Crop production (NDC) is one solution, and the results include crops with super-healthy food that possess increased resistance to insect infestation and disease. What this means is they do not require the petroleum-based chemical inputs that are toxic to the long-term health of soil.

With superior flavor and longer shelf life, these products are made possible with remineralization, which is the breakdown of organic matter (derived from a biological source) into its simplest inorganic forms. This process forms a critical link in an ecosystem, as it frees the energy stored in organic molecules and recycles matter for use as nutrients by other organisms. For remineralization to be effective, minerals must be given time to be digested and therefore made bio-available for other organisms.

Yes, we all want a green lawn or beautiful and healthy produce for our meals. However, it all starts with the soil—and what we are just discovering in the past few years is we have compromised our ability to grow nutrient-rich foods. The thing to remember is that any solution we implement will take time (and patience).

Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919 if you have any questions. Let’s talk ‘dirt’y—pun intended!