US farmers experiment with growing quinoa, as demand grows

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SEQUIM, Wash. (AP) — Americans consume more than half of the global production of quinoa . Yet Washington State University researcher Julianne Kellogg says quinoa fields are so rare in American farming that the total acreage doesn’t show on an agricultural census.

Farmers and researchers around the country are working to change that, making a foray into the quinoa-growing business.

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that’s high in protein. It’s also one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which is good for people who need to control their blood sugar.

This year, Lundberg Family Farms, a California-based company, and its network of contracted farmers along the West Coast hope to harvest 2 million pounds of quinoa.

Meanwhile, quinoa prices have dropped since more farmers in South America began producing the grain known for its nutritional value.