This year we’ve continued trails with growing quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-whah’) and discussions with variuous growers about collaborations to grow and supply our members on a significant scale.Why are we so keen on quinoa? Well for the health boffins out there, here’s why: “A recently rediscovered ancient “grain” native to South America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.” It has been recognised by the United Nations as a supercrop for its health benefits: packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. The facts suggest it is close to a perfect ingredient as you can get…

Here’s a load of recipe ideas from the Beeb and here’s Adam’s report:

This year we planted a trial crop of quinoa using four varieties from Realseeds, all coming recommended as being good for growing outside in the UK.  The varieties were Rainbow, Chilean, Temuco and Kaslala.  On April 15th I sowed Quinoa in rows 30 cm apart in a well composted bed and watered well.  At the same time I sowed the same varieties into seed trays in an unheated polytunnel.  By April 22nd the quinoa seedlings both inside and outside had emerged.  On June 4th I planted the quinoa outside as the plants in the polytunnel had far outgrown those sown outside.  I planted 21 of each variety.  I weeded out the outdoor sowings.  The plants in the trays were about 8 inches tall at this stage.

Throughout the summer I hoed and weed the beds but didn’t give them any water.  All of the quinoa was ripe before the first hard frost.  I harvested Temuco and Rainbow quinoa on September 3rd, Kaslala quinoa on September 11th and Chilean quinoa on September 20th.  Temuco quinoa was by far the most productive of the four varieties with big heavy seedheads by the end of the season.  Chilean came second and Rainbow and Kaslala a joint third.  It would be interesting to try sowing Temuco quinoa directly outside to see if it would ripen in time as it is not feasible to grow large quantities of quinoa in trays before planting out.

  • Admin
    The Fife Diet January 30, 2013 at 10:28

    Hi Lenny, thanks for the comment. No, as far as we know there’s no UK-grown quinoa available commercially, yet.

  • Lenny January 29, 2013 at 19:20

    Does the quinoa that you are producing is available in the supermarkets?

  • Admin
    The Fife Diet January 19, 2013 at 10:16

    Thanks Madeline, yes we got good results not as the article suggested a failure and have some detail on soil conditions and variety. Let’s get in touch to take this forward?

  • Madeline McKeever January 19, 2013 at 00:43

    HI there, I just found you through Wednesday’s Guardian article.

    We have grown quinoa for several years now, and like you, have had the best results with Temuco. We spwed it directly in the ground last year and you can see the results here:

    We grew 7 varieties last year, and allowed them to cross. From this we hope to mass select for traits suitable to our climate, in south west Ireland.

  • Admin
    The Fife Diet August 9, 2012 at 10:59

    Hi Helen, thanks – we’ve tested growing for a number of years and have established best conditions and varieties. Best to get in touch with Elly or me for further discussion?

  • helen August 7, 2012 at 03:01

    Hi there, I’m not a farmer but would love to know ifyou have pursued this growing of quinoa and if there can be a grant of some kind given to grow it on a lrge scale.. i would love to come and visit your site.
    my friend is running Asian Vegetable grwoing, geodesic chuck dome building and wicking sytems workshops – would you know intersted people? Is there a site near you we could run a workshop?

  • Admin
    The Fife Diet June 20, 2011 at 11:29

    Hi Jim, thanks for your message. We’ve been experimenting with different varieties and have identified which ones do best. Our focus isn’t really on growing on a large scale but we’d love to work with a farmer who could do this with us.

    Certainly we think there’s a market here for Fife-grown quinoa.


  • Jim Boyle June 19, 2011 at 12:09

    Hi Adam,

    Did you try growing quinoa this year? Your report above is very interesting – do you think quinoa represents a genuine possibility as a commercial crop for Fife?