The fields of farmer Nash Huber are the Olympic Mountains, at nearly 8,000 feet, in Washington, United States. To the North is a channel from the Pacific, that separates this country with Canada. It is in this corner where Huber expects that quinoa starts to bear fruit.
Last month, Huber was planted about 12 hectares of quinoa. This encouraged other farmers in the area to participate and take advantage of the growing demand of American consumers for the Andean grain.
"It's a beautiful crop," said Huber while it inspected its combine grinding plants and discard seeds. He chose a variety called Redhead, which stained his red field a couple of weeks prior to harvest. "We're still learning. Little by little we will achieve a sustained production."
Americans consume more than half of the world production of quinoa (37,000 tonnes in 2012). Makes 20 years, the production was of 600 TM, according to the Organization for the power and the Agriculture of the Nations United. However, the cultivation of quinoa in this country is not common, and there is an agricultural census. It is estimated a total of 1500 to 2000 hectares.
Thanks to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, it has been revalued quinoa nutritional potential and consumption has risen. This bean has all the amino acids humans need, so it is a complete, something difficult to find in cereal protein. It is also gluten-free.
A few years ago, due to the increase in demand from the United States. and Europe, producers Peruvian conducted campaigns agricultural massive this has given place to an oversupply of quinoa, with the consequent fall of prices.
In accordance with a report Department of service outside of Agriculture of Agriculture of United States, between September of 2014 and August of 2015, the prices of quinoa is plunged a 40 per cent.
In California there is a processing plant to remove the bitter coating covering the grains of quinoa. This wasn't the Bolivian farmers.
Huber partnered with Lundberg Family Farms, a company with headquarters in California and leader in the production of domestic quinoa. This year, Lundberg and his network of farmers of the West Coast hope to harvest 1 million tons of quinoa.
"Is good have the product available to the consumers", said Tim Schultz, Vice President of research and development of Lundberg. "There is a less logistical expenditure."
To obtain greater production of quinoa in United States, farmers and researchers are looking for the right combination of variety and environment. At Washington State University, they are planting plots with varieties resistant to the heat and germination in temperate climate, among other points of reference. The next years are carried out tests in plots of Maryland and Minnesota.
"From the perspective of the farmer, there are more options of rotation", said Kevin Murphy, teacher assistant of the University.
This option loves Huber. It is its main production. In a harvest, he observed a lower yield than expected, since the moose that roam nearby forests, romped in the fields of quinoa.
"We hope to break the balance point", he smiled. "If we break the balance and earn a little more money, it would be very good, because we have learned a lot here".