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View Diary: If you like quinoa, asparagus, or free trade, read this. (207 comments)

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  •  Interesting. (22+ / 0-)

    Because this is what the Green Plate post suggested:

    Quinoa is a hardy, drought- and frost-resistant plant that thrives at high altitude–between 7,000 and 13,000 feet. It prefers sandy soils and short daylight cycles. It also adapts to its environment, if its some 1,800 known strains are any indication. Yet, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador still account for 97 percent of global production. Despite decades of research and trial in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and in Minnesota, at the impetus of American market pioneer Quinoa Corporation, quinoa still escapes the best efforts of agronomists and dedicated farmers to reach commercial scale. Today, White Mountain Farm in San Luis Valley, Colorado, is the only American grower to sell quinoa–in “very limited supply” as its site indicates. Farmers in the Canadian prairie of Saskatchewan seem to have had somewhat better luck. They’ve been selling their crops through the Northern Quinoa Corporation since 1995. That’s for the “local” supply.
    •  I have grown it (42+ / 0-)

      in Western Washington on a farm in the Olympic Mountains for over 30 years.  I had help finding the right variety from Forest Schomer owner of Abundant Life Seed foundation. There are over 3000 known varieties of Quinoa they have different needs. Some will grow well at lower altitudes, with colder or conditions, other not so much.

      I have saved my own seed for all of the 30 years. As I plant each new generation I find it is more adapted to my location and produces better. My first harvest was half of what I get now.

      All that your quote tells me is that it does not respond well to our brand of commercial mechanized agriculture. I think thats a good thing.

      It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

      by PSWaterspirit on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:43:04 AM PST

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      •  I saw it in a seed catalog (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, sap, Sylv, Joieau

        maybe I'll give it a try.

        Here's your horoscope for today: The universe doesn't even know that you exist.--Jbou

        by greycat on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:05:22 AM PST

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      •  The ancient Inca worked hard to figure out micro- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AZ Sphinx Moth

        climates in the Andes. It's part of the reason why there are so many varieties of quinoa and of potatoes. We only are aware of a few here in the states but if you visit South America, prepare to be amazed.

        I bet there are some varieties that would do well here in the US... I also bet it wouldn't be that hard to find a variety that is adaptable to different conditions.

        •  Years ago (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, AZ Sphinx Moth, joynow

          A guy from Port Townsend, WA went there and brought back as many varieties as he could find in the places where the climate was as similar as possible to Western Washington.

          He grew them out and selected the ones that did the best.

          I started with seven varieties and narrowed it to two which I have now raised for 30 years. It very rapidly adapted to my micro climate over the course of 5 years. After 30 stray seeds now sprout and volunteer when it is time to grow.

          But in reality most plants do when grown from seed if you can get them to get to the seed stage in your area. The following year will be a little better and so on.

          A seed is programed to grow into a plant and reproduce it must do so for survival. They will adapt I even have a purple shelled spanish peanut that has taken me years to get adapted it only produces about 20 shells full per plant and I only do a few plants each year for fun. But they are the best peanuts I have ever eaten :)

          It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

          by PSWaterspirit on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:19:56 PM PST

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    •  if we were willing to give up some of the (6+ / 0-)

      enormous land use given over to meat production for grazing, and for growing crops for animal grain such as soy,  we could free up some land for growing  healthy crops like quinoa which uses much less water and which would feed more people from it's land use than meat.

      But the US is beholden to it's big agri subsidies and it's killing our food supply and our planet.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:55:29 AM PST

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      •  Big Ag doesn't rotate. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maryabein, cailloux

        Crop rotation is key. Moving livestock to previously tilled and cropped areas cuts down on parasites and replenishes the soil. Large farming enterprises generally are concerned with only one crop or type of livestock and do not integrate the two.

        •  70% of agriculture land and 30% of the global land (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          area are used for livestock production

          70% of agricultural land and 30% of the global land area are used for livestock production.

          that's the problem, completely unsustainable and that's accounting for crowded factory farm conditions...just stunning  

          Macca's Meatless Monday

          by VL Baker on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:23:14 PM PST

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          •  That is more about (4+ / 0-)

            commercial agriculture than anything. Animals are a benefit to farming on a small scale and they are very beneficial to the farm ecosystem.

            Most non animal based complete fertilizers contain petro chemicals. I have 50 chickens that have an acre per year of space to eat from. I supliment their bug and grass diet with vegetable scraps and a good layer mix which they eat sparingly. I have three total acres of 80 dedicated to gardening and chickens. One acre is fallow each year, it is followed by spring and summer chicken munching followed by garden the folloing spring. Fall and winter the chickens till the old vegetable garden eating up scrap plants and getting rid of any bugs. In spring we start all over.

            They also provide me with enough compost for my winter garden which I keep closer to the house in raised beds and under glass.

            The milk cows are much smaller than most, slightly larger than a german shepard. They hang out with the fruit trees on 5 acres.

            My fertilizer bill each year is $20 for rock phosphate and lime.

            Our agriculture system is built on using a piece o land for one thing and nothing else.

            It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

            by PSWaterspirit on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:49:30 PM PST

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            •  wish all farms were like yours PS There (0+ / 0-)

              simply isn't enough land to raise meat sustainably given current consumption not to mention water use.  Problem is too much of our land and water is used for livestock production.  Simply unsustainable now and going into the future.  We must reduce our meat consumption to gain land for growing food that will feed more people and use less water and not create the massive release of greenhouse gases that livestock production emits.  It's  one of our greatest challenges moving forward.

              Macca's Meatless Monday

              by VL Baker on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:40:27 PM PST

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    •  Saskatchewan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Seems like the right climate for quinoa, provided they have compatible soil.

      That Saskatchewan company got the jump and registered for their website.  Doesn't look like they allow direct online ordering, though.

      Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

      by MJB on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:07:05 PM PST

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      •  Prices if anyone is interested (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, joynow

        3 one-pound bags, price is $14.70, plus shipping, which is $25.49 to California, so total of $40.19.

        By comparison, a four-pound bag of Bolivian quinoa at my local Costco is (IIRC) $9.39.

        Those shipping costs make it difficult.  Even if you buy from the farm in Colorado linked above, the shipping cost effectively doubles the price.

        Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

        by MJB on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:56:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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