Quinoa is grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is technically a pseudo-cereal, since it is not a member of the grass family. Originating in the Andes region of South America, quinoa contains an exceptionally healthy balance of amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Quinoa was domesticated as a crop over 3,500 years ago and the Andean highland cultures considered it to be sacred – a food source deeply ingrained in the culture and lives of natives in the region.
Most of the world’s quinoa is grown on the Altiplano, a vast, cold, windswept, and barren 14,000-foot Andean plateau spanning parts of Bolivia and Chile. Quinoa is one of the few crops that thrive there, and its high price means more economic sustainability for farmers in one of the poorest areas of South America.