It’s the time of year I’ve been waiting for all winter, Spring has finally arrived! The snow drops have been and gone, to be replaced with a chorus of yellow daffodils. Having said that, it’s still quite cold, which means we’ve had to wait a little bit longer to start drilling this year’s quinoa crops. But at least we’re away now, having drilled around 50 hectares (120 acres) on our Shropshire farm already this year.
It seems that 2015 is going to be an exciting year not just for myself, but for several other UK farmers who will now be helping us to grow our quinoa across a wider area of the country. We’re due to be planting around 370 hectares (900 acres) in total this year, which is a big step up from the area produced in 2014, and these crops will be spread far and wide including Shropshire, Wiltshire, Kent and Norfolk among others. It’s great having an expanding group of growers with whom we are working closely to try and develop this new British crop, as there is still a lot to learn so we’re looking to gain lots of feedback to keep improving our production practices.
Another development this spring has been that we’re going to be growing our first crops of organic quinoa, using the knowhow of a few brave farmers! A total of around 33 hectares (80 acres) of organic quinoa is being planted and I’m sure we’ll all be eagerly watching to see how things develop over the season. I certainly hope it works well as I’m so often asked by people wanting to buy organically grown British quinoa, it will be great to finally say yes!
Over the past few months we’ve been working hard to get the design of our retail packets finalised. For this we’ve teamed up with a UK illustrator to produce an engaging and natural looking design, to reflect our commitment to the environment. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to launch our product for sale via our web store and in health food shops…. more details will be released soon.
On one final note, I thought I’d sign off with a picture of where our first sown crop of 2015 is up to. I’ve been avidly keeping an eye on this and am very relieved to see it germinating and starting to produce it first roots:
At least these single plants are coming along nicely, now only to check the other million plants in this field….!