Farmers in Peru and Bolivia have been growing and eating quinoa for a long, long time. But over the last decade, the grain’s high nutritional value has made it a popular food in countries like the U.S. and Canada. South America quinoa production has more than doubled since 2010 as producers have tried to meet international demand.
Four years ago, the trend caught the eye of Jeremiah Clark, who runs Clark Seed Co. near Idaho Falls. His son, Eli, had been misdiagnosed with celiac disease, so the family tried some gluten-free foods. After adding quinoa (KEEN-wah) to their diet, Clark did some research – and found out it could be a perfect fit for Eastern Idaho’s climate.
“It sounded like it grew in areas that we were in,” Clark said. “Kind of the high-desert, cooler temperature. Down in Peru and Bolivia they rotate it with potatoes. That just sounded like Idaho.”