What a glorious April we've had? With the UK in lockdown, the sun decided to show itself at just the right time. It also happened to be great timing for us in the farming world too. After a very wet Autumn and Winter, we definitely needed a drier April in order to get our quinoa seeds in the ground at the right time.
Planting our crops
We began planting our quinoa seeds, along with our other 30 plus growers from around the UK at the beginning of April. We started planting in really good time to ensure we still had plenty of moisture in the seedbed for germination, as we could see the weather was starting to turn much drier. We managed to get it all sown by the end of April.
Due to having one of the driest April's on record, some of our crops which are planted in further Eastern parts of the UK struggled to germinate, as the ground was a little too dry during the drilling phase. We were rather thankful for the arrival of the rain over the past few days, as we really needed some heavy showers to get our quinoa crops going.
As we were planting our crops this year, we managed to get a video showing you how we get our quinoa seeds in the ground. Take a watch here!
Where are we now?
We are now at the exciting point of the year where we have the pleasure of watching our quinoa crops gradually emerge and establish, and it fills us with hope for what the next six months may hold ahead of the harvest. Ideally, we now need some more of that warmer weather mixed in with some more rain showers to ensure a happy and vigorous crop. We should note that unlike other agricultural crops grown in the UK, we've absolutely no form of pesticides available for use on quinoa, so we really are in the hands of nature to be kind to us.
Our 2020 crop
This is one of our biggest crops in many years, meaning we have both many new and existing growers on board across the UK helping us to expand our production. As we are now working with over 30 growers, Stephen is hopeful that if lockdown is lifted and by following the government guidelines with social distancing, that he will get out and see how all our growers and their quinoa crops are getting on later in the summer.
It's also a very exciting year as we are trialling a couple of new varieties of quinoa. On a small scale, we are testing a new white quinoa variety, and for the first time ever, we are testing a new black quinoa variety. When we test these new varieties, we are looking for improvements within the agronomic characteristics of the crop (to make growing quinoa easier) and also better seed characteristics (so our grains are even better for eating). We have our fingers crossed that these new varieties prove successful.
We are very close to finishing the processing of our 2019 crop - following the harvest of our quinoa it can certainly take a while to get it all cleaned up and onto the supermarket shelves. If you are interested in the process of cleaning our quinoa, click here to watch a video which explains all!
We couldn't really do a blog post in the current climate and not mention Coronavirus and the impact it's having.
It's safe to say we have noticed a big shift in the market with some sectors significantly slowing down with orders and with others significantly picking up. We've seen it balancing itself out slightly, but we hold out hope that in the coming weeks and months, businesses that have been forced to close during this pandemic can begin to reopen and resume normality once more.
We are rather eager to see how our 2020 crop will turn out, as well as the new quinoa varieties that we are testing. We will definitely keep you all updated on how our crops are getting on throughout the Spring and Summer.
The British Quinoa Company Ltd