Quinoa [KEEN-wah] is a seed, that looks like couscous and is as versatile as rice. Naturally grown in Peru, it is packed with protein, quinoa contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber.
So why isn’t it on our dinner tables every night?
The Washington Post explains why quinoa, though growing in popularity, hasn’t taken over the world yet:
Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s hard for any new crop to make the transition from niche to mainstream. Products, maybe: Soy milk is ubiquitous now, after years as a marginal hippie thing, but it comes from a plant that U.S. farmers have grown for decades. An entirely new species is something else altogether. â€I wouldnâ€™t even go so far as to say thatâ€™s a non-staple that went big-time,â€ Bellemare says.
For that reason, quinoa prices are likely to remain volatile for a long while yet. Brigham Youngâ€™s Rick Jellen says the lack of research funding for quinoaâ€“relative to the other large crop programsâ€“means that even if they come up with a more versatile strain, it wonâ€™t have the resilience to survive an infestation.
The takeaway, it’s hard to start large scale production of a new crop.