Try Quinoa!

Submitted by Readydone


Expecting Barbados food sources to transform from export to domestic is a very mighty task. This is compounded by the fact that we get up to five times our population in tourists annually. The result: the demand for food fluctuates too quickly for farmers to accurately judge what the market will be like when the crops are ready to harvest up to four months away. Our previous agriculture model of exporting sugar had numerous advantages for our small island. The fact the sugar takes a long time to expire and has excellent shipping and handling properties means that the farmer was almost guaranteed that his crop would be sold.

If agriculture is to survive given our small population, and benefit a greater number of people, not just the few that can afford the protection of the large greenhouses required if you want to grow vegetables for profit. We either have to find a more suitable export crop or promote the kitchen garden again. Baird Village Aquaponics has done some interesting research into finding an export crop. We researched rice, tobacco, grapes and soybean – all good – but Quinoa as a food crop for Barbados is showing the most real life potential, international research suggests the plant does not do well at low elevations, but Barbados has a very interesting environment that I personally believe can grow any crop.

If you don’t know what Quinoa taste like you should take a trip to a health food store, it is listed as a super food and a replacement for rice, although not known culturally, it is one of the most complete staples you can get, and it stores, ships and handles very efficiently. The seedling stage is very difficult to master until you realize that the plant needs little or no nutrients in the soil so basically sand will do, and because that is a relatively new crop Monsanto has not got a hold of its seed and altered it genetically.

The product sold in the health food store is unprocessed, cheaper per pound than rice, can be cultivated in pots and is a colourful, beautiful plant. It is technically a seed but is actually used as you would a grain and is about half the size of a rice grain the plant itself was found to be hardy and has little predators, you should try it, if not to grow to eat.

0 thoughts on “Try Quinoa!

  1. I added Quinoa to my diet about a year ago. You can usually also find it at the Big B Supermarket in Rendezvous. It’s kept on the shelf where you find the oatmeal porridge etc. It’s generally recommended that before cooking you give it a good rinse in water as there is sometimes a natural coating on the seeds that can provide a somewhat bitter taste to the product. Usually, but not always, that coating is removed before it is packaged, so just to be sure it doesn’t hurt to give it a rinse before putting it in the pot to cook. I find that when cooked the taste and texture is very much like couscous.

  2. I would also suggest you look into a plant called the Empress tree. It grows very fast, has a very tight internal structure that provides a knot-free wood that is in demand for high-quality furniture. I’ve seen it growing at agricultural shows in Canada and it’s very impressive. I’m not giving you a great deal of information now because the Web can give you all you need and a contact here in Canada. I believe it originated in Asia. Take a look at it and decide for yourself. I haven’t done a lot of research on it but I think it might do very well in Barbados

    One thing I will say, is what does the Agricultural Division do in Barbados (sit on their hands). I remember when I was living in Barbados in the 1960s they were a vibrant, active unit – I know, I know, sugar was King then but they did do good work with men like Mr. Herbert and others. Oh, to have Errol Barrow back, he was not a man to spend money wastefully on new a Court House (it looks like it belongs in Washington, D.C. not little Barbados) .He only spent the people’s money as he could afford it. To some degree, Barbados had it too good with tourism for 40 odd years during which time they let agriculture go the way of the Dodo bird.

  3. @ Michael Cox thanks for the info about the Empress tree i will have to check it out.
    The ministry of Agriculture has does a excellent job, on paper, they got all the theory down pat. Application is a different story i think they can do way better.

    @ David somebody out there listening. if i keep spreading the info someone going to use it. eventually. maybe.

    @ Green monkey, do you mind telling us why did you add the product to your diet? Thanks for the tip on washing first, i for got to mention that. u ever think of growing your own?

  4. Dr. Mercola interviews soil scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham (Founder of Soilfoodweb Inc., Chief Scientist Rodale Institute) on the importance of ensuring the soil had the correct micro-organisms, nutrients and structure to support the growth of crops, and how these factors can be adjusted using natural methods, obviating the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides and Monsanto’s high-cost GMOs.

    Getting to the Root of How GMO Plants Harm Food Production and Your Health

    Dr. Mercola

    Optimal health is one of my passions and nutrition is one of the best tools I know of on how to achieve it. But the key to getting healthy organic vegetables, of course, is the health of the soil in which it’s grown.

    Research scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham1 is internationally recognized as an expert on the benefits of sustainable soil science.

    She was formerly an associate professor at Oregon State University and well on her way to full-tenure professorship when her research on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) led to her being forced to resign.

    The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, funds a large part of the budget for Oregon State University, and her findings were not welcome as it threatened the University’s funding.

    Dr. Ingham went on to develop a company called Soil Foodweb Inc., which helps farmers and gardeners understand the health of their soil. The company analyzes soil samples and also helps develop a composting plan that is specifically targeted for the plants you’re seeking to grow.

    She’s also the chief research scientist at Rodale Institute which I plan on personally visiting in the near future. I’ll provide you with some video of that visit afterwards.

    Embedded video at link:

  5. Hi Ready Done,
    Re. why I started eating Quinoa. I was looking for ways to cut down on the amount of refined carboydrates in my diet and read that quinoa was a good alternative to white rice in that it had a relatively low glycemic index and in addition it had other good nutritional qualities. And no, I never thought of trying to grow it in my backyard. I knew that the Quinoa grains were actually seeds of the plant, but it just never occurred to me that it would be a viable option to grow it here. However, after reading your comments, I think I will give it a try.

  6. Well there are several kinds. The red one is best. More importantly grains and legumes, together, provide the spectrum of proteins. No meat is necessary. We’ve been vegans for 30 years. Greenie, you may want to soak your quinoa overnight and then roost it before a slow cook. Then is when you will enter into the kingdom of kingdoms (smile).

  7. @GreenMonkey i hear you it sure is a way healthier food than rice, it is alkaline too. Dr. Elaine Ingham is my idol. she is awesome, her book “Teaming with microbes” inspired a whole generation of farmers. On my must read list for sure.

    Let me know when u start to grow them out. Quickest seed ever to sprout. 2 days top.

    • It seems ironic that we should be discussing eating healthy at the same time a national debate is raging about whether the government should hold a tariff which affects the importation of processed meat to 184%. Bear in mind processed meats not highly regarded as a healthy food. In addition Barbados is know as the Amputation Capital of the world. Just one question BY would like to pose to Subway and Burger King management. When you guys built your businesscase was it supported by the 184% tariff or 20%? Were you are at the time of approval that it was government’s intention to rollback the tariff to 184%?

  8. This sounds like a good export crop but getting Bajans to switch from rice will be as difficult as getting them to stop eating chicken wings and pig tails.

    The Health food business is booming in North America.

  9. Saw it at Trimart Haggatt Hall yesterday and apart from Super Centre Big B I have seen it at Warrens and JB’s but tends to sell quickly and not always on shelf.

  10. Try eating it with bulgar. Beats rice any day. I personally, ate rice only twice in the last two months. I also now roast my cassava in the skin. Delicious!!! No more boiling for me.

    I had the red quinoa in a salad with barley and alfafa sprouts at Mothers Day dinner last week at the NAC. It was a hit and the platter was constantly being replaced.

  11. From Nationnews “Barbadians are going nuts over the Moringa oleifera tree, also known as “The Miracle Tree”.

    Grown mainly in India and Africa, it is believed to be one of the most useful trees in the world.

    The bark, sap, roots, leaves, seeds, oil and flowers are used in traditional medicine, but people are also using them in food and brewing them as tea to cure a variety of ailments.”

  12. Barbados people must certainly do something – FAST. Sad that Barbados has no natural resources and its tourism ship is rapidly sinking; it’s chaotic there; it’s just a mess; Moody’s and the S&P says so. There are lots of theft there; the United Nations says it. Crime, in general is rising; crime against tourists is also rising. Barbados is no longer a desired desination, apparently and not safe.

  13. Well there is a myth is perpetuated by those in “power” that like to import everything to sell to the general population at high profit. That myth is that Barbados has no natural resources, BIG LIE. We have the best and most valuable resource, in fact the only one that really counts, a functioning literate population.

    Its true the population is currently in love with the Moringa, i was very surprise to hear a conversation about it from some youths at a foot ball match recently and the movement has nutting to do with the government, its all the people. it just proves that there is a love for natural things in this island and revisiting to our agricultural roots is not very hard at all.

  14. @ david them two places you now mention is charge sooooo much for a cutter, i wonder how much of that increase could be absorbed by the current profit being made. We got to start talking numbers, math and data when we talking these things.

    But wait so ham gin go up by how much?

  15. @ Pat the children carry you out for mother’s day? sounds like you had a ball, salad sound exotic too, i personally never had sprouts to this day, on my to do list though. I do sprout barley and river tamarind seed for use like a fertilizer for my plants, you think ya could eat barley sprouts?

    What is bulgar?

  16. Saw some at Emerald City over the weekend and a friend in the North says he has seen it at Jordan’s Speightstown.

  17. We have some people in Barbados crying out for government to respond to our huge import bill. Recently when Subway and Burger King franchises cried out over a 184% tariff which made importing processed meats prohibitive there was government’s intervention to rollback the decision. Interesting to hear a cry coming from Jamaica to cut imports and to increase local production of food,

    Ban the importation of all agricultural produce which can be cultivated locally!

    This, according to Peter McConnell, managing director of Worthy Park Estate Limited, is the first practical step that should be taken in redressing the country’s growing import bill which now stands at just under US$1 billion. Last year, Jamaica’s agricultural export bill was recorded at US$959 million, jumping by US$21 million over the previous year.

    The drastic solution came during yesterday’s Editors’ Forum hosted by The Gleaner Company at its North Street offices, downtown Kingston.

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