One New Zealand farming family believes that plant protein is the future of food. As reported by online news site Stuff, Hamish and Kate Dunlop, founders of the The New Zealand Quinoa Company, are the first-ever to cultivate the pseudograin commercially in Taranaki.
“Like most farmers we have heard all the stories on the problems the world faces, and as farmers we want to be part of the future, help solve some of those issues, and plant proteins are going to be a huge part of future food,” said Kate. The health-conscious couple was already familiar with quinoa as a food but were unsure if it could be grown in Taranaki. Other challenges included finding a combine harvester, an industrial machine that can harvest a wide variety of crops, in a region dominated by dairy farms.
The Dunlops found that quinoa was a viable crop in their region, and now, several shops throughout the nation stock bags of the plant protein-rich food. “This whole experiment has pushed a whole lot of our comfort zones in a lot of ways, it’s been exciting and terrifying,” Kate said.
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In addition to managing fields of quinoa, the couple has three young children as well as a sheep and beef farm. Despite being in the animal agriculture business, the Dunlops believe that growing quinoa fits into their commitment to environmental sustainability. “There’s a generation of farmers coming through that are wanting to see what else we can be doing, looking outside the box,” said Hamish.
The local community has been supportive of the family quinoa business. The Dunlops have found support among a network of local farmers and chefs who seek locally-grown ingredients. Local tourism company Venture Taranaki has also helped the family succeed.
The Dunlops aren’t alone in cultivating the protein-rich vegan superfood in New Zealand. Kiwi Quinoa, which grows its crop in Rangitikei, was the first commercially grown quinoa company in the nation.
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