The Ceremony and Celebration of the Bolivian Quinoa Harvest


Right now in Bolivia, in a small community nestled between salt lakes at the base of a volcano, it is harvest time. Each morning before dawn, the residents awake to tend their fields. The land is rugged, a formidable combination of desert rock and clay. The plants that rise from this terrain are distinctly beautiful – sturdy stalks standing 4-6 feet tall, topped by rustling clusters of seeds in vibrant shades of red, gold, and black.

At this point, about 40% of the harvesting has been done. There is still much work to do, and most of it is still completed in the traditional way – by hand, void of modern technology or machinery.

The people of this community take great pride in their harvest; it is the foundation of their livelihood, and a cause for ritual and celebration. Each year, a ceremony is held to honor Pachamama, a goddess central to the ancient religion of the indigenous Andean people. Pachamama, or Mother Earth, is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. She is the wife of Pachakamac; their children are Inti (the Sun God) and Killa (the Moon Goddess.) Together this most sacred family of deities represents the four organizing principles of nature, as classified by Quechua cosmology: water, earth, sun, and moon.

These elements work hand-in-hand with the Bolivian farmers at harvest time, as the local communities come together to plot the land, cultivate the crops, and harvest the fruits of their labor. The result: Royal Bolivian Quinoa (or Quinoa Real), arguably the finest quinoa in the world – and the only quinoa we use in Ancient Harvest products.

For over 30 years, Ancient Harvest has been committed to helping the people of rural Bolivia sustain their indigenous culture and continue their tradition of growing and selling quinoa. We were the first company to bring this “Mother Grain” to the United States, and we are committed to giving back to the land from whence it came.

We take great pride in the relationships that we’ve fostered over the years, and in our involvement with the Bolivian farming community. We value tradition, sustainability, and quality – and we believe that those values are reflected in all of our products.

From all of us here at Ancient Harvest: Happy Earth Day.