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  • Meet our quinoa farmers

    Anapqui Cooperative: Attilio Perez

     

    Attilio Perez

     

    Attilio is a proud father of 7 children-- 5 girls and 2 boys. He lives about 45 miles from the nearest town and makes a living as both a professor and a farmer. He farms quinoa, barley, corn, potatoes and has 250 llamas. 90% of his income from both farming and teaching go directly to his childrens' education. All of his children go to school and 1 is also starting to take over the farming practices. All of their farming methods are organic and they use technical practices to fight soil erosion.

    Life on Atillo's farm is simplified. The family has no telephone, radio, or daily access to a newspaper. Their meals are mostly quinoa soup and llama's meat.

     

    Recent quinoa newslearn about the impact of Alter Eco quinoa 

     

  • More about royal quinoa

     

    Among the 1,800 varieties of quinoa currently grown, royal quinoa (or “quinoa real”) is grown only in the Bolivian Altiplano salt flats, 13,000 feet above sea level. The arid conditions and rich mineral soil here produce seeds nearly a third larger than anywhere else in the world.
    Quinoa from this region has been prized for centuries; in Incan times, this supersized quinoa was reserved for royalty, hence the name “quinoa real.” 



    Recent quinoa newslearn about the impact of Alter Eco quinoa 

  • How is our quinoa harvested?

     

    FALL

    Planting Quinoa

     

    As summer draws to an end, the weather is just cool enough for farmers to clean, clear and plow their fields in preparation for the next planting. Seeds are sewn by hand in careful lines to leave adequate room for quinoa’s tall, vibrant bushes to grow. When the winds pick up in October, the farmers shield the fledgling plants to avoid dehydration, and set up kerosene lamps at night to keep pests from eating the tender shoots.

     

    WINTER

    Quinoa changing color

     

    Winter is the season of patience and care. Farmers keep a close eye on the fields, weeding regularly as they watch these amazing plants grow as much as five feet and change color from green to gold, red and purple.

     

    SPRING

    Quinoa Harvest

     

    Harvest time! Farmers use sickles to cut the stalks, leaving them in the fields to dry completely before separating the grains by hand. They keep up to 10% of the harvest to feed their families, and save the finest and hardiest grains for the next season’s crop. The other 90% goes to the onsite plant for processing.

     

    SUMMER

    ANAPQUI quinoa gas dryers

     

    At the processing plant, a machine removes the bark fragments from the grains, taking much of the plant’s natural defense system–a bitter-tasting chemical called saponin– with it. The grains are then sorted for size and shape and washed to remove the remaining saponin. Solar-powered driers blow hot air onto the grains, after which they are sorted a second time by hand. The grains are then packed onsite and shipped to your local shelf.