Pure Ontario Quinoa (2014)

Funding: AAC Growing Forward 2 Capacity Building

The Pure Ontario Quinoa market development project will build upon Katan Kitchens mandate as an innovative, health food enterprise that seeks to produce local, high quality SuperFoods in Ontario. Katan Kitchens and its collaborators intend to launch the first local commercial quinoa products in Ontario.

 

Local Ontario Value Chain for Quinoa (2013-2016)

Katan Kitchens and Value Chain Management International (VCMI) have just concluded a thirty-month project to develop the value chain for quinoa in Ontario. Over the course of the project, the team has worked to identify how Ontario quinoa can be produced to consistently high quality and possess attributes valued by the end market. This occurred in conjunction with establishing best management and quality monitoring practices throughout the value chain, from field to consumers.

Producing Quinoa in Ontario (Phosphorous Trial 2013-2014)

Funding: Ontario Centres of Excellence VIP1

The past two years of agronomic trials on quinoa production have provided favourable results as an Ontario commercial crop. In addition to the negative impact of weed pressure on yield, findings from this preliminary research indicates that planting density and soil fertility could have a significant impact on quinoa yield. A recent NSERC Engage grant provided the medium to explore different planting densities for growing quinoa. This current on-going trial showed signs of nutrient deficiency.  Quinoa is considered to be a low-input crop; however, studies indicate that it is strongly responsive to soil inputs. Soil profiles suggest a production impact from varying phosphorus soil concentrations and that deficient levels of phosphorous can significantly affect quinoa growth.

Viable Seed Yield for Quinoa in Ontario (Density Trial 2013)

Funding: NSERC Engage

The specific challenge is to obtain a consistent commercial crop yield (1000 kg/ha) on Ontario soils. In addition to the negative impact of weed pressure on yield, findings from the preliminary research indicate that planting density could have a significant impact on quinoa yield. The general sowing rates for quinoa production are high in case of stand reduction. Lower planting density results in larger stem diameters, more branching, a faster maturity rate and higher yield per plant. Optimizing planting density can greatly influence seed yield and weed pressure. Reducing the within and between row spacing can result in fast canopy closure and shade out weeds; however, competition between individual plants can also occur. There is no herbicide registration for these crops, thus weed control and management is a significant factor in commercial production. In addition, there is a great demand for organic quinoa, thus alternative practices to conventional herbicide use are needed. Two years of production research has proven its ability to grow as a viable crop in Ontario. The challenge is to obtain a consistent stand and seed yield, which can be influenced by optimizing the planting density for Ontario.

Superfoods for Health – Amaranth & Quinoa Production (2012-2013)

Funding: Canadian Agriculture Adaptation Program - AAC

The objective of this project was to further the development of quinoa and amaranth as viable local commercial crops in Ontario.  Despite a significant drought in 2012, this project was able to demonstrate that quinoa and amaranth production is viable in Ontario.  These small scales trials across Ontario demonstrated that a yield of 800-1000 lbs of quinoa and amaranth is achievable.  The financial model derived from the output of this project is attractive and feasible for producers in Ontario to be growing local quinoa.  This was demonstrated by the high uptake and interest in growing these crops in 2013 (over 50 producers).  Reducing weed competition and improved harvesting techniques will further add to the viability of these crops in future years.  The next step in this development is to expand into larger scale, commercial plots.  The support from AAC in this CAAP project also helped to establish the requirements and infrastructure required for a successful quinoa industry in Ontario.  Through this work, and above and beyond the many producers we engaged, we were able to attract strong interest and even letters of intent from Canadian distributors and processors who are strongly interested in high quality local Ontario quinoa production.