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Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is native to the South American continent. It has been consumed for thousands of years and was known as the Mother Grain by the Incas. Technically it is not a grain but a pseudocereal, meaning it is a seed which is prepared and consumed like a grain. Once a staple for the Andean people, it has recently exploded in popularity world-wide on the back of a rich nutritional profile, it is one of the few plant foods that is considered a complete protein. This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids (including lysine) that are critical for our body to be able to build and repair itself.
Quinoa can be a nourishing alternative to rice, pasta and other grains. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat and barley which can cause gut problems in people with coeliac disease. Not only is quinoa naturally gluten-free, it provides a nutritionally superior alternative to gluten-free foods.
Dan and Jacqui had the idea to grow quinoa in the Rangitikei after travelling through South America and noting the quinoa-growing regions of Peru bore quite a resemblance to home. The idea germinated on the farm where Dan and Jacqui faced the question would the Andean grain grow here? After years of trials and many lessons learned they had their answer quinoa can indeed thrive here in New Zealand. Dan and Jacqui harvested their first crop the first commercially ready quinoa crop harvested in NZ in February 2016. With the success of that first crop, bigger crops will follow, and they look forward to putting Kiwi Quinoa on Kiwi dining tables.