Mapping a Brix Scale to an Expert System in the Raspberry Patch


It's the height of black raspberry season everyone! The ideal blackberry picking experience is going to Weiland's, finding a stack of fresh berries and picking a pint or two.

For some reason, that wasn't good enough for the kid this morning. So, we shlepped ourselves to Mitchell's to hunt and gather. Inexperienced in the way of the berry, I decided to see what everyone else was doing to figure out where the best product was. The place was busy: industrious church ladies, authoritarian soccer moms militantly dictating orders to their kids and big sloppy families stumbling around confused. Who was getting the best stuff?

We decided to try 'em all, although we mostly shadowed the church ladies (much to their chagrin). We grabbed some darn good looking product from several areas. But the berries near the church ladies were best - or were they? When we got home, we subjected them to a sugar content analysis. I used a refractometer to measure % sugar or Brix. It's the same instrument vintners use when evaluating grape development throughout the season. Here are our findings:

Analyte Brix
Diligently working church ladies picking black raspberries for the church bake sale, knowing full well they would do serious time in purgatory if they didn't make the best pie. 10% Brix
Soccer Moms looking for good subjects for still life paintings to sell on Etsy. 9% Brix
The family gathering: stems, cheerios, berries of some sort while roaming the fields of bushes yelling at each other and running back and forth to the potty. 8% Brix
Reference Std: water 0% Brix
Reference Std: 5% w/w sucrose/water 4% Brix
Reference Std: 10% w/w sucrose/water 8% Brix
Reference Std: 15% w/w sucrose/water 12% Brix
No seriously, this is science All berries sampled were 8% Brix

Our hunch was right and the church ladies will likely go to heaven with minimal time in the "waiting room."