Our Quinoa Story
Let's take you back nearly 30 years, right to the very beginning - the very best place to start right?!
It's 1980 and Francis Nicholls of J K King & sons has just arrived back from a trip to South America, bringing with him Quinoa seed with the task of investigating the suitability of the british climate to grow Quinoa.
Trials started soon after and by 1985 the crop had grown to a commercial scale potential. Quite incidently, the use of the crop as game cover was established as it appeared to attract pheasants. This resulted in the marketing of a new game mix in 1987 called 'Kingmix'. In 1989, Peter grew 28ha of quinoa to market for human consumption
However, then Peter and Francis came across a stumbling block. Despite sales going well for their commercial game cover 'Kingmix', it became apparently more difficult to introduce to the UK consumer as an edible human product, despite evidence from the US proving it as a good gluten free, high protein food source.
After achieving a relatively good harvest, both Fairs and Nicholls aired on the side of caution, not wanting to rush into developing the crop until production techniques had been developed, markets had opened up and buy back contracts were available. At the time, there was no practical way to wash quinoa in large quantities and so Peter and Francis set to develop a mechanical system of abrasion.
Following some testing, it was found that the variety Peter had managed to grow had a high Saponin content, a natural foam-producing substance which gives the seed a bitter taste, which could only removed through washing.
We are constantly improving our varieties through cross breeding and reselection. Only those plants which suit East Anglia's climate and our customers quality requirements are chosen for commercial production
Let's Fast-Forward to Present Day. The recent interest in Quinoa, being naturally gluten free and with a high protein content has encouraged us to produce new, saponin free varieties with improved wholegrain, wholesome flavour. Peter has worked hard to produce the seed he has today, which is high yielding, saponin free, without genetic modification.
The Quinoa we sell is produced on our own farm in Essex, which covers an area equal to 2800 football pitches and is made up of 208 individually named fields.
That's what's happened so far. So...WHAT NEXT?