What Does It Take to Grow Quinoa?
by Lane Christiansen
Looking for a new crop to add to your rotation? Would you like to decrease disease and pest severity while increasing your bottom line? Struggling to find a profitable crop? Quinoa may be the crop to help address these challenges. At NorQuin, we specialize in growing quinoa locally. In this article, we will discuss what it takes to grow quinoa on the Prairie provinces.
Choice of land is important as it sets you up for the high yields. Well-drained, loamy soils, and steady topography are best when making a field selection, however, quinoa is very adaptable and is being grown successfully right across the Prairie provinces. Seeding time can bring many challenges, what to seed first, frost tolerance of crops. Quinoa can be seeded mid-May and has a great tolerance to frost at both ends of the season. No specialized seeding equipment is needed to put quinoa in the ground! Input costs such as fertilizer are very similar to canola.
Quinoa can give you a break in disease cycles as it does not host the same pathogens as other cash crops like canola. It also does not have an adverse relationship with beneficial fungi in the soil, which increases fungi numbers and generates a healthier soil. Insects are noted to attack quinoa, but it will not host certain insect pests. Therefore, quinoa as a non-host can decrease the population of some insects.
Quinoa is ready to harvest within 95–120 days, depending on the variety and environmental conditions, from seeding date. As with seeding, no special equipment is required to harvest quinoa. The quinoa is then processed right here in Saskatchewan and distributed all around the world. We are always looking to work with new growers. If you are interested in growing this year, or in the future, please get in contact with us (see below for contact information).
Fun Facts About Quinoa
- Most people think quinoa is a grain, but it’s actually a seed.
- There are more than 100 types of quinoa grown all over the world!
- Every variety of quinoa may have slightly or very different cooking methods!
- Quinoa is one of the few plant-based sources of protein that contains all the amino acids.
- One cup of uncooked quinoa will supply you with half of your daily recommended value of fibre.
- There is an International Year of Quinoa as declared by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2013.
- The quinoa plant supplies its own bug repellent in the form of saponins. These bitter elements keep most bugs and birds from consuming it. Saponins are rinsed off during cooking or during a pre-wash.
- Quinoa is full of antioxidants and is considered a superfood!
- Quinoa has been a staple in some cultures for over 4,000 years!
- NorQuin uses a state-of-the-art process that is significantly different than other quinoa processors. Our system conditions the quinoa seed by using just five litres per MT vs others that use 4,500 litres per MT.
With nine grams of plant-based protein per serving, this quinoa Greek salad is a nutritious and filling salad that will keep you satisfied for hours. Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, making it a great choice for all diets.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in fibre, and rich in magnesium, making it a great addition to any healthy diet.
Not your average salad! This hearty salad is bursting with flavour and packed with vegetables.
Greek Quinoa Salad
2 cups quinoa
1 English cucumber (diced)
3 tomatoes (diced, Roma, or cherry is best)
1 cup black olives (sliced)
1 cup feta cheese (optional)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped to garnish)
- Cook quinoa according to package. Set aside to cool.
- While quinoa is cooking, prepare cucumber, tomato, and black olives. Set aside the feta cheese.
- For the dressing, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl or small jar.
- Once quinoa is cooled, combine all ingredients. Mix well.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Optional: Refrigerate for 1–4 hours to maximize flavours.
Recipe by Nina Lane, MSc, NTP, AIP, Certified Coach. She is a Nutritional Therapist passionate about helping clients to reclaim and optimize their health and wellness.
Lane Christiansen, Farm Service Representative, grew up on a farm in north central Saskatchewan. He received a BSc in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. Before joining NorQuin, he worked as an agronomist in different chemical retails. He has been with NorQuin for seven months and is enjoying every minute of it! To contact him call (306) 222-3582, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and see the display ad on page 16 of the 26.4 March/April issue of the WHOLifE Journal.