Last updated: Friday July 13th 2018
By the time the chia is ready to be harvested in July and August, the plants have dried out and the purple flowers have given way to fields of golden brown. The chia plants in their entirety are harvested with a state of the art combine machine, similar to how European farmers harvest wheat. This is both efficient as it avoids unnecessary loss of product, but also provides much more favourable working conditions vs. manual harvesting for the farmers in the fields.
Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are sustainably produced – after harvest the fields are left to grow natural grasses and weeds. Prior to the next replanting, these grasses and weeds are cut and mixed into the soil as a way to naturally fertilize it which returns the nutrients taken by the previous harvest (in particular, nitrogen). As such, there is no need to rotate production with other crops as it is the case, for example, with soya.
Once the chia plants are harvested, the unprocessed product is placed into the originally entitled “big bags” (so called as they truly are remarkably big bags), before being transported from the fields to warehouses to awaiting final cleaning in a local facility.
At the cleaning facility the unprocessed chia plants are fed into a big hopper which has a magnet to remove possible metallic impurities. The plants then flow into a machine called a “Ciclón” which is exactly what it sounds like – a big machine which literally blows the big parts of the chia plant such as the stems, leaves and flowers apart from the chia seeds themselves. This cleaner chia seed then flows through a series of vibrating screens that allow only objects that are the exact size and weight of chia seeds to pass through. All Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds then pass again by a metal detector and magnet to make sure no other metal pieces could possibly end up in the final product. This pure chia seed (minimum purity accepted of 99.9%) is finally packed into 25kg bags ready to be shipped to Europe. As you can see in the above process, no water is used in the cleaning of chia seeds since they absorb liquid so easily – what you get really is a raw and natural product!
ANALYSIS & TESTING
Before shipping to Europe, we test the quality and organic status of our chia seeds at an accredited laboratory. We analyse each lot of Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds for 17 parameters including purity, microbiology, pesticides and other contaminants to make sure you are only getting the highest quality product possible. Only when we are convinced of the quality do we green light for Andean Sol’s customers.
When quality have been passed, the bags of chia are transported 1,500km from the processing plant to a warehouse in the Port of Buenos Aires where they are packed into containers and loaded aboard a ship. The journey on the water from Argentina takes around a month as the ship passes up along the coast of South America and then crosses the ocean to finally arrive in Europe where our chia is then unloaded and packed into Andean Sol spout pouches.