Alter EcoNourishing Foodie, Farmer and Field


Note Royal Quinoa is only grown on the Solar de Uyuni of the Bolivian Altiplano. Therefore growing seasons follow the fluctuations of the Southern Hemisphere and regular patterns of extreme altitude. 


Planting Quinoa

SPRING draws winter to an end, the weather is beginning to warm up enough for farmers to clean, clear and plow their fields in preparation for the next planting. In October, seeds are sewn by hand in careful lines to leave adequate room for quinoa’s tall, vibrant bushes to grow. 

SUMMER is the season of patience and care. When the winds pick up on the Bolivian Altiplano, farmers shield the fledgling plants to avoid dehydration, and set up kerosene lamps at night to keep pests from eating the tender shoots. Farmers keep a close eye on the fields, weeding regularly as they watch these amazing plants grow as much as five feet and change color from green to gold, red and purple.

FALL is harvest time! Farmers use sickles to cut the stalks, leaving them in the fields to dry completely before separating the grains by hand. They keep up to 10% of the harvest to feed their families, and save the finest and hardiest grains for the next season’s crop. The other 90% goes to the onsite plant for processing.

ANAPQUI quinoa gas dryers

WINTER rolls around, and the processing plant at the cooperative is busy removing the bark fragments from the grains, taking much of the plant’s natural defense system–a bitter-tasting chemical called saponin– with it. The grains are then sorted for size and shape and washed to remove the remaining saponin. Solar-powered driers blow hot air onto the grains, after which they are sorted a second time by hand. 


Finally, the grains are shipped to Alter Eco, packed and ready for you to enjoy! Learn more about our quinoa.