We grew LOTS of quinoa, that life affirming and vitality creating grain that has lots of protein, vitamins and minerals, including some omegas, much better than rice for whatever grain needs we have! You can use it in place of rice so that there is more nutrition in your meal, make gluten free bread with it, everything! We grew about 6 acres of it! (3 hectares). NOW we have to figure out how to thresh it and get it ready for consumption…
We were going to do it by hand but now realize that is going to take way too long. Now we are trying to find a good thresher, a machine that takes all the seeds out of the stalks and gets it ready for the next step. We have tried to find someone here in Ecuador who can rent a threshing machine to us, but no such luck! They are all in Bolivia, the country that grows most of the quinoa that is in the world.
The quinoa grows terrific here in the Andes of Ecuador, as it is a native plant to the Andes. It likes the warm days and the cool nights, so we have the perfect climate. We are also trying our hand at Chia seeds, and we will soon find out how well Chia seeds grow here. Some say that when Chia seeds are grown at these higher altitudes it has more nutrients.
One friend who grew Chia at a thousand feet lower said get ready to have a battle with the birds! They LOVE chia seeds and can clean out a whole field worth of chia seeds in no time. He said when the Chia seeds are ready we have to grab them right away or the birds will eat them all! I don’t mind sharing some with the birds, but hey, leave some for us!!!
We are finding that the only place to buy one of these threshers is in China! Yikes! I have never tried to order a big industrial machine from China, have you? Oh boy! More learning curve. However, we need to have our own thresher because it can thresh not only quinoa, but also chia, sesame, and lots of other things.
We will be able to help all our neighbors grow and sell quinoa and chia if we have a thresher because then they will be able to process all their crops with us helping them. It could a whole new business enterprise for all our neighbors on the surrounding mountains. They have been watching our quinoa endeavor closely, with lots of curiosity as to how it would work for them if it works for us.
If you can fit a big quinoa thresher in your suitcase when you come, let us know!!! (just kidding!)