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Kiwi quinoa - a New Zealand first!

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The first New Zealand grown quinoa has finally arrived at Sabato.

Kiwi Quinoa is the innovative idea from Rangiteki couple Dan and Jacqui Cottrell. After 5 years perfecting their method and process, they harvested their first crop in February 2016. We were lucky enough to get our hands on this sustainably farmed quinoa and we couldn't be more excited!

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If you are not familiar with quinoa, it is an ancient super seed that is gluten-free and full of goodness. It has a low GI and is high in protein, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and fibre. It has a sweet, nutty flavour and delicate texture and can be used as an alternative to rice or pasta.

For those of you, who made it along to our Midwinter Night Market last Thursday, you may have even had the chance to meet Dan and Jacqui. But in case you didn't, we sat down with them to find out more about their Kiwi Quinoa.

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What made you want to start cultivating quinoa in New Zealand?

When we were travelling through South America, I remember stopping on a tour and thinking “It looks like the Desert Road” This was in Peru, where quinoa was grown. The idea started from there. The more research and work we did, the more excited we got. That was 5 years ago. Also it is rocket fuel.

Where does your quinoa originate from?

Europe, specifically from a partnership with a French grower.

What are the challenges you have faced growing quinoa in New Zealand?

Our quinoa is essentially grown organically (it is spray-free by necessity) and therefore weeds are our biggest challenge. The New Zealand climate allows most plants (including weeds) to thrive so we use timely cultivation and try to grow a healthy quinoa plant that out grows its competition.

Also we are the first growers, so we are working out a supply chain and industry at the same time as being farmers.

What is the difference between your quinoa and other brands on the market?

It is the only New Zealand grown Quinoa. It hasn’t been commercially processed or polished and is wholegrain. This leads to superior protein content than imported quinoa.

We find it to be superior in flavour, integrity and super easy to cook as well as sprout.

Aside from the colour, what are the differences between white, black and red quinoa?

All three are similar in nutritional content, although red & black quinoa takes slightly longer to cook.

What are your favourite dishes to cook with quinoa?

A hands down favourite quinoa recipe in our family is QFC- Quinoa Fried Chicken. Crispy, golden fried quinoa coated chicken tenderloins served with a chilli, coriander and lime salsa. Another favourite is Chilli con quinoa – hints of chocolate, chilli and packed with goodness – hearty winter fare.

What’s next for Kiwi Quinoa?

It is early days and we want to grow sustainably. Ideally we want to have Kiwi Quinoa in household pantries instead of imported quinoa, plus having it sold in the best restaurants.

Kiwi Quinoa is available in store or online at Sabato.

Try it for yourself in a winter salad or stuffed into a roasted butternut.

Winter Salad Winter Salad
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