HERE ARE some quick and easy ways to
incorporate quinoa into your diet.
• Toasted quinoa is simple to make
and adds a tasty crunch to cereals,
parfaits and granolas.
• Add cooked quinoa to eggs. The flavour and texture are a nice change from
the usual scrambled eggs and toast.
• Mix cooked quinoa with quick oats
and sprinkle in some fresh berries, milk,
pepitas or sunflower seeds.
DURING A QUICK midweek dinner of
Costco rotisserie chicken, fresh green
beans and Kirkland Signature™ Organic
Quinoa, I decided to play a game with my
;-year-old daughter. “If you were stranded
in a desert and could eat only one thing,
what would it be?” I asked her.
“Chocolate, silly!” she responded.
My response? Quinoa. I received puzzled looks from everyone at the table, but I
was steadfast in my reasoning: Quinoa
requires minimal water to grow and provides minerals and an abundance of easily
digestible protein—factors that are very
important to surviving life in the desert.
Teasing aside, quinoa is an incredible food
that I’m glad to have discovered, and I am
even more excited that Costco has partnered with four amazing suppliers to produce the Kirkland Signature Organic
Quinoa that my family can’t seem to get
What exactly is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an
ancient seed that is grown from sea level to
;, ;;; metres (;;,;;; feet) in altitude, pri-
marily in the mountains and highland pla-
teaus of Peru and Bolivia. There are
hundreds of varieties of quinoa; the most
common are white, red and black. Some
types are as small as a poppy seed, while
others are closer in size to a grain of rice.
While many assume quinoa is a grain, it is
actually a seed harvested from a plant spe-
cies called goosefoot and is more closely
related to spinach and beets than to
grains. You can even eat the leaves on a
Once cooked (an easy ;;-minute process similar to cooking rice), quinoa has a
curly “tail” that sticks out. That tail is the
germ separating from the seed, indicating
the quinoa is ready.
In addition to being cooked like a
grain, quinoa can be used in many different forms, including flakes, flour, pasta
Where does it come from?
Quinoa was first domesticated about
;,;;; years ago in the Andean region of
South America. Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and
Chile were among the first countries to
grow it. Today, Costco sources its quinoa
primarily from Bolivia and Peru, says
Martin Beam, a Costco dry grocery buyer.
He explains that quinoa is sold in Costco
locations around the globe. The U.S. is the
largest consumer, followed by Europe and
then Canada, he says.
Kirkland Signature Organic Quinoa is
cultivated by traditional smallholder
farmers (anyone who operates on ;; acres
or less in Peru or Bolivia) who are commit-
ted to sustainably growing organic quinoa
using the same farming techniques their
ancestors did generations ago.
How does quinoa grow?
In Bolivia, farmers grow their quinoa
near the Bolivian salt flats, explains Sergio
Nuñez de Arco, CEO and co-founder of
Andean Naturals, one of the main suppliers of Kirkland Signature Organic Quinoa.
“No other crop will grow there besides quinoa, because of the altitude, salty soil and
lack of water,” he says. “You have to time
the planting just right. A couple of weeks
before the start of the rainy season, farmers dig holes about ;; centimetres (;
inches) deep to reach the trapped moisture
from the previous year’s rains. They drop
Freelance writer Laura
Bode ;lls this issue’s
consumer reporter slot
with this behind-the-scenes
look at a Costco program.
Email questions about this
article to buyingsmart@
A mighty seed that packs a punch
© R. RUIZ / ANDEAN NATURALS