(Pedro's Improved Red Faro)
Family: Goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae)
Self-seeding annual native to South America. 100 days to maturity. This is one of the most highly productive food grains that can easily be grown by home gardeners in the temperate north. Does particularly well for gardeners in the North and for mountain gardens where nights are cold. We came upon this plant in our search for a substitute for rice, which we found to be one of the main staples of our diet that was not produced bioregionally. Plant prefers full sun and regular garden soil. Direct seed in spring and thin to 1 foot apart. The plants should be cultivated frequently during the summer, and watered well, but when the seed begins to mature, stop watering, as excessive water on the seed head can be deleterious. Plants tend to lodge (heavy seedheads blown by wind!) so hill them up during the growing season to bolster. After the plants reach maturity, when the heads yield mature seeds when rubbed, then cut the tops and dry them by hanging in the shade or on screens or by laying out on tarps in a dormant greenhouse (generally takes a couple of weeks) then whack them (we put down a sheet, put a table screen over that, then whack the heads with flails, e.g. willow whips) and the seed falls down onto the sheet. After that, separate chaff from seed by screening (use our set of seed cleaning screens or improvise) and winnow the seed in the wind. Winnow onto a sheet. Chaff and light (unviable) seed will fly away, while the good seed will hit the sheet. Do this several times, and the seed will be clean enough. Quinoa contains a lot of saponins in the seed, and these must be leached out before cooking. After the seed is dry and winnowed, you can wash out the saponins by placing the seed in fabric bags (loosely, a couple of pounds in each bag) and running through the wash and spin cycles in the washing machine. Obviously, do not add soap, you are trying to get RID of soap. Then, immediately remove the seed from the bags and dry on screens in a place where there is warmth and positive airflow, stirring hourly until seed is dry, which takes a day, and then at least another day to dry to storeability. We like to cook this in much the same way as one cooks rice, and the resulting grain is texturally pleasant and naturally nutty--a great human feed, as it were. Extremely concentrated food source. When eaten along with black turtle beans, and with a little tomato and garlic added, all essential amino acids will be present.
300 seeds/pkt, Certified Organically Grown