Welcome back to Producer Profiles!
This week we want to introduce you to some producers who people thought had gone a bit “funny” when they began growing quinoa on the prairies in the 1990s: Norquin Quinoa.
In 1992, Joe Dutcheshen, a pharmacist/farmer from Kamsack, was looking to diversity his farm and began testing different varieties of quinoa on his family farm. He developed an interest in quinoa for its nutritional value and frost-tolerant nature. Due to Dutcheshen’s success with the crop, Northern Quinoa Corporation was incorporated in 1994 by a group of local area producers and business people from eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba, and is now headquartered in Saskatoon. When they first began growing quinoa on the Canadian prairies, it was a feat that was novel to agriculture in Canada at the time. Since then, they have grown as a company and now offer a variety of quinoa-based products that are nutritious, quality-assured and gluten free.
Quinoa (keen-wa) is an ancient grain, dating back thousands of years, and indigenous to the Andes Mountains of South America. Our cool, dry climate is similar to the areas in South America where quinoa is grown. Quinoa is high in carbohydrates, protein, and an excellent source of nutrients, fibre and essential vitamins. Quinoa also belongs to a rare group of foods which are considered to be complete protein sources, meaning that when you eat it, you’re getting all nine essential amino acids the body requires. It is also naturally gluten-free.
Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavour and can be enjoyed cooked as a side or breakfast dish. We love to sprinkle the crispy quinoa on yogurt with some fruit for a little crunchy goodness in the morning! If you want to incorporate this amazing food into your diet but you’re a little unsure of how to do it, Norquin’s web site offers recipes for everything from breakfast to entrees, baking, and it’s even been used to make whiskey!
Written with information available at www.quinoa.com