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Royal Quinoa: Phoenix from the Ashes

Last updated: Monday July 09th 2018

Bolivia began exporting small quantities of quinoa in the 70’s to vegetarian consumers as word about its impressive protein content spread.  Each year a small rise in export was seen, until 2013 when sales increased at an alarming rate.  Everyone in the western world wanted a taste of this versatile super food. 

Still proudly boasting the best quality quinoa in the world, Bolivia produces a variety known as Royal Quinoa.  For thousands of years the farmers have been selectively breeding the plant to achieve the superior genetic code.  This variety provides a larger grain and higher nutritional value, as well as carrying the reputation of being tastier than its competitors.  In order to keep the integrity of the plant, Bolivian farmers in the area of Salar de Uyuni do not use pesticides, and still do much of the farming and harvesting by hand.  Because of this, farmers produce around 500 kilos per hectare, while their Peruvian competitors can reach up to 7,000.  

Upon first glance, the region of Salar de Uyuni does not seem a likely place for successful agriculture.  Surrounding the salt flats at 4000m high, this dry, desolate place is not home to many living things.  However, Royal Quinoa not only survives, but thrives.

Quinoa grows annually to a height of between 1-2m and when in bloom bursts into a dazzling array of pink, burgundy, orange, white and yellow colours.  The Royal Quinoa bloom is truly like a phoenix rising from the ashes. 

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