Heirloom Food Products Grown Organically
Where to Buy for US Consumers
“La Quinua es Nuestra Esperanza”
“The Quinoa is Our
If you were to ask Juan Perez andLorenzo
Cepeda to describe the Heirloom Quinoa Project
in Ecuador, they would simply answer,
“La Quinua es nuestra esperanza” or “The quinoa is our hope.”
Juan and Lorenzo represented ERPE
(Escuelas Radiofonicas Populares del
Ecuador) one of the Slow Food Award
Winners in Biodiversity for 2002 in
Turin Italy. Juan is the director of
ERPE’s Heirloom Quinoa Project and Lorenzo
is the President of Quinera, the workers’ cooperative. There are now
families in Ecuador growing quinoa for the project
who benefit economically from this fair trade export.
Inca Organics of Chicago, Illinois imports
this organic heirloom quinoa into the
United States and England. Although
other brands of quinoa are also sold
in those countries, the quinoa
produced by ERPE is the only heirloom
quinoa combining many varieties that
have grown in central Ecuador since before
the time of the Incas.
Other quinoa brands produced in
Bolivia or Peru are one recently developed hybrid called Quinoa Real.
It is bred to be large, white and bland tasting like white
rice. It is also
polished, like white rice, to remove the
bitter saponin that covers all quinoa
seeds. The saponin residue from the
polishing must be washed off before
the quinoa is cooked or it will taste
bitter. ERPE does not polish their
heirloom quinoa, but washes it in a
unique 3-step process that removes the
saponin and any other impurities from
is then thoroughly
dried to exacting standards that give
it a long shelf life of over 4 years.
It is a more labor-intensive process
than polishing but gives a more
flavorful and nutritious product.
Corby Kummer in writing about this
heirloom quinoa in the November Atlantic Monthly said, “Inca
Organics quinoa is cleaner, fresher, sweeter, and livelier
tasting than the kind most health-food markets
sell.” World-renowned chefs, such as Charlie Trotter, use Inca
Organics heirloom quinoa because it has
a better flavor. As people look for new healthful and nutritious
foods, they also want something that tastes
good. That’s a great reason to support a
Slow Food award winner by using their
Now international communities are discovering the health benefits and the unique flavor of this Ecuadorian quinoa as the project’s indigenous farmers rediscover a lost way of life. The Heirloom Quinoa Project “has already restored a livelihood and native crop to people in danger of losing both and is still working to ensure the health and future of their land and families,” notes Kummer in his description of the project for the biodiversity award. While Juan and Lorenzo are excited about the Slow Food Award, they are most happy that the quinoa they grow provides healthy hope for people all over the globe.
Red Mill packages Inca Organics Ecuadorian quinoa as a whole grain and gluten
free flour and Seeds of Change as 3 different
flavored quinoa blends — tomato
basil, cilantro, and French herb. It can
be purchased by mail order from Gold
Mine Natural Foods in San Diego or
over the Internet from Neshaminy Valley
Natural Foods at www.orgfood.com.
Bulk distributors, restaurant and food service suppliers are listed at www.incaorganics.com.
Visit this web site for more
information and recipes too or call 1-866-328-4622.
Quinoa is great to use as a nutritious
quick-cooking substitute for rice,
bulgur, or couscous. It can also
substitute for meat since it’s a complete
protein and makes a quick cooking
breakfast cereal. The following recipe
is just a sample of its versatility
1 cup golden raisins
1 10-oz. package frozen peas ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 medium red onion, diced ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded, cored and dice
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted 1 green pepper, seeded, cored, and diced
½ cup vinaigrette dressing
In a large saucepan bring 4 cups hot water and 2 cups quinoa to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until all
the water is absorbed. Fluff
with a fork and cool.
In a microwave proof container heat frozen peas in 2 Tablespoons
water for 4 minutes. Drain and cool.
When quinoa and peas are cool add all remaining ingredients
except pine nuts.
Toss with ½ cup of your
favorite vinaigrette dressing or try the delicious
dressing that follows. Taste and adjust for seasonings. Add more
dressing if desired.
Garnish with pine nuts toasted until
golden in a dry skillet.
6. Serve or cover and chill until served.
Makes 8 servings
WINE VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil 1
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard freshly ground pepper
2 clove garlic, finely chopped salt
Wisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, and chopped garlic in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive
oil, whisking until thickened.
Adjust seasonings to taste.