Quinoa gives farmers a new crop option and consumers a local source
The United States now has the highest demand for quinoa in the world, but more than 90% of quinoa is imported. This novel crop has historically had a high market value and adds diversity to crop rotations. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, adoption of quinoa in cropping systems has been hampered by production, processing and marketing difficulties. To help address those challenges, Oregon State University researchers tested 17 quinoa varieties and four planting dates to identify the most suitable options for the region, as well as harvesting and processing methods.
Their research shows that quinoa has the potential to fill some crop rotation needs in annual cropping systems, such as vegetable or seed production. The ability to grow quinoa gives farmers additional crop options while providing Oregonians with more locally grown food. The grain can be used as a rice substitute and in gluten-free products. Residents of the Pacific Northwest are known for being conscious of a healthy diet, so providing Oregonians with locally and sustainably produced quinoa could benefit both farmers and consumers.