Quinoa is a grain whose time, it seems, has come. Lundberg Family Farms has contracted with three Olympic Peninsula farms—Nash’s Organic Produce, Dharma Ridge Farm and the Chimacum Farm Collaborative—to grow quinoa organically for them. While the conventional wisdom is that quinoa is a mountain crop grown in the Andes, there are many varieties that were developed throughout history to grow in coastal areas, and it turns out that the Olympic Peninsula is a favorable place for quinoa to thrive.
Lundberg Family Farms is one of the few large-scale family-run agricultural operations in the US. This past week, they came to the northwest to check up on their quinoa crops.
They brought several of their staff with them, and they were accompanied by WSU quinoa specialists Dr. Kevin Murphy and researcher Julianne Kellogg. WSU has trial plots at all the contract farms, including a plot with 110 varieties at Nash’s. These varieties will be narrowed down over the next few years to 5 or 6 and will eventually be available for commercial use.
The quinoa at Nash’s is about 2 weeks from harvest, if this warm weather keeps up. In the photo above, Farmer Nash checks a seed head for maturity.