Tasting evaluations are an important part of variety trials. High yielding carrot varieties with great pest resistance are valuable to farmers yet less valuable if they won’t sell well due to poor taste.
Taste can be very subjective and everyone has their own opinion on what tastes good. However, when tastings are conducted with many people, trends start to emerge. The word clouds below show comments on carrot taste of 3 different cultivars (varieties) being evaluated across 2 groups of people on 2 dates. The larger the word appears, the more times the comment was mentioned.
These visuals help us understand what types of flavour and mouthfeel are important to carrot consumers. In this tasting we also asked the participants to rate the carrots for sweetness and overall flavour. By using numbers we are able to receive average, high and low scores for the individual varieties and infer tangible results from these values.
For a tasting to be effective for research purposes there needs to be;
- Samples of several or more varieties.
- Samples provided from the top, middle and bottom of the vegetable. As well from multiple individual vegetables.
- Vegetables grown under the same conditions, in the same place and harvested at the same time and stored equally.
- A high number of samplers.
- Opportunity to qualitatively (with words) and quantitatively (with numbers) describe the taste.
- Analysis of the information that results in communication of the insights.
For an example on tasting results in a scientific context, view the 2016 Beet Variety Trial results.
However, tastings don’t need to be daunting or complicated (except in scientific research :-). Grow some carrots, taste them and record your thoughts!
The BC Seeds team at FarmFolk CityFolk are big fans of hosting public tastings where it is for fun! We get a chance to share information on vegetable seed research, connect people, provide space for thinking about breeding and variety selection and get people excited about vegetables!