Testing is for those who would like to understand their soil / water / biology and act on the results. Few serious gardeners or farmers go without repeated cycles of testing – acting – testing – acting.
The most important part of testing is to understand what your priorities are. For example, “I am testing my soil because the nutritional quality of the food I feed my family is important to me, and I am committed to acting to improve that quality.” Or, “I am testing my water to understand the mineral content it is providing to my plants which will help me balance my soil and grow a higher yielding, healthier crop.”
It can be important to interpret tests together. For example, a standard soil test will tell you what is in your mineral reserve, while a saturated paste test using the same water you irrigate with will tell you what minerals are dissolved in the soil solution. A tissue test will further refine this into whether or not those minerals are making it into the plant. These tests together paint a picture of what is happening with mineral flow from the soil to the plant and leaving any of these out leaves out important information.
What about testing food for nutritional density? Sure, you could test for vitamins and minerals, bioflavinoids and proteins as is done in the USDA food database. However, the best test is how your own body and mind react. Our bodies and minds use flavor to evaluate the presence of the nutrition our bodies need in our food. There is an excellent book, the Dorito Effect, that explains these concepts in detail along with how our reactions to flavor have been perverted by the processed. food industry. A Youtube interview with the author is here.
Food that is good for you tastes good.
Flavor is the ultimate test of nutritional density. You will know it, your family will know it, your customers will know it. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.