Kindred Organics: Great Quinoa

Kindred Organics: Introduction

Lauran and Henriette Damen and their son Peter are Kindred Organics, one of the most important organic farming families in Tasmania. Their farm occupies a beautiful slice of this state with stunning views towards the wonderful Mt Roland.

Mount Roland in the distance

It’s not just the products they grow and sell directly, like their hulled hemp (a Foodtourist pantry staple), quinoa, spelt and rolled oats. They also provide organic ingredients for other Tasmanian artisans.

Their lush paddocks, what Lauran calls his “green factory” are never entirely laid bare unlike common farming practices on the north-west coast which see paddocks of rich volcanic soils completely exposed, which in this windy part of the world must surely mean much is displaced.

Healthy field of oats providing cover for the soil

And, unbeknownst to us before this visit, they also farm black angus cattle. In the photo below you can see in the distance a group of cows in a fairly bare field who are about to calve and apparently need a limited, simple diet. To the right are the cows who have just calved who are rewarded with a rich paddock of grass.

As always, it’s inspiring to visit anyone who takes the harder path farming organically and enriches the environment and our health with what they do.

Kindred Organics: Quinoa

Kindred Organics is the first producer of organic quinoa in Tasmania. Henriette and Lauran grow this versatile seed on their 250 hectare organic farm.

If you haven’t heard of, or used, quinoa (pronounced keen – wah) then some background might be useful.

Quinoa was one of the three staple foods of the ancient Incas who inhabited territory in the South American Andes from Columbia down through Peru and on to Bolivia. It was a staple of their diet along with corn and potatoes. It is still widely grown in those countries today.

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain but it is not a true grain (it is a seed) and therefore appeals to people with gluten allergies. It is also a very good source of protein – in fact probably a better source than milk and has the added benefit of being high in the beneficial amino acid lysine (along with other amino acids). It is also high in zinc, magnesium and iron as well as potassium.

The plant is somewhat similar to amaranth with a large seed head on the end of a stem. The colour of the plant is deep red or rusty. The seeds are coated in a bitter substance called saponin (a soap-like substance) to make them unattractive to birds and insects. Therefore they need to be washed at least three times to remove the bitterness.

All you then have to do is place it in a pot with a bit more water than quinoa – for example use 300ml of water for 250 mls of quinoa – and simmer gently until the water has been absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes). Leave to rest for a few minutes then fluff up with a fork and you have a substitute for potatoes or polenta.

Quinoa package from Kindred Organics

We have seen it for sale at City Organics and Eumarrah in Hobart as well as various organic web sites.

Kindred Organics: Other products

Kindred Organics also grow other products on their farm including buckwheat, hemp, oats, beef and spelt.

Spelt is an old grain that is grown widely in Provence, particularly on the southern slopes of Mont Ventoux. It is a delicious grain that can be cooked like rice for a spelt risotto or simply braised using a good stock as an accompaniment to a range of meat dishes.

They also grow oats and sell rolled oats for making porridge or biscuits. We like to either soak the oats in water overnight and then cook them for about fifteen minutes in milk or a combination of the soaking water and milk. The porridge can then be topped with some of Elgaar’s excellent yoghurt for a satisfying and savoury breakfast dish.

Additional information

Street: 15 Graingers Rd

Town/Suburb: Kindred, 7310

Phone: +61 3 6429 3202