It’s not an easy crop to grow, requiring full attention to detail to ensure that the crop is healthy and will eventually produce a harvestable crop. The growth cycle for quinoa runs from Spring to Autumn.
In Spring we plant the seeds that will establish our new quinoa crop. We must plant the tiny seeds at a very accurate depth to ensure that they emerge successfully. The seed germinates very quickly but is initially slow to establish into a full crop until we get some warmer weather. At this stage we’re wanting the crop to move quickly so that it can get ahead of the weeds that will no doubt germinate alongside it.
We use mechanical weeding in the young crop to control weeds without the use of artificial herbicides. This most often involves the use of a tractor hoe, which cultivates the space in between the quinoa rows helping to reduce the number of weeds present. This is a tough job, requiring a steady hand and excellent concentration to avoid damaging the young quinoa seedlings.
During the Summer each plant will begin to flower, after which the seeds will soon begin to develop. The seeds start off being very small and full of water, but as the summer progresses they begin to swell and become much denser. This is an exciting stage as we can finally see all of our work start to come together.
Once the quinoa crop has fully matured and the seeds have dried out in the Summer sun, a combine harvester is used to collect the seeds from the head of the plant. The combine empties its tank into a tractor and trailer and we bring the crop back to the farm so it can be rapidly dried to preserve quality. The seeds are then carefully stored in our shed until they are ready to be sent for cleaning.
Following harvesting we clean the crop to prepare it for consumption. During this stage we sieve the crop remove pieces of stem, weed seeds and chaff to ensure a high level of purity, while also removing small and discoloured quinoa grains to ensure we achieve a good quality product. All our products are cleaned in a modern food grade facility to ensure excellent standards of safely.
The British Quinoa Company Ltd