Colorado is a Leading Producer of Millet, the Underappreciated Gluten-Free GrainBy Evan Sandsmark -
It is no secret that the gluten-free diet has firmly taken hold in Colorado in general and Boulder in particular. As those with a gluten intolerance seek out more and more GF products, the demand for gluten-free ingredients, such as quinoa and millet, has expanded greatly. When demand for a product grows, so does its production (at least when possible), and the state of Colorado is proving this basic principle of business as it ramps up the production of millet. Colorado is, indeed, the largest producer of millet in the country – over half of the millet in the U.S. is grown in the state.
Quinoa seems to be fairly well known to the gluten-free crowd; in any case, we’ve written about it several times, like in our article about Qrunch’s Gluten-Free Vegan Burgers). Millet, however, seems to have gone relatively unnoticed (perhaps because it has largely been used to feed animals and not people historically), which is both surprising and unfortunate. It is surprising because it is gluten-free, and it seems like everything that is gluten-free has gained prominence in recent years, especially in places like Boulder. It is unfortunate because it is highly nutritious: it has a high vitamin content, and it is also loaded with fiber and protein. Moreover, it can be used for a many types of products, ranging from birdseed to a variety of baked goods, making it a fairly diverse grain. It can even be used to make gluten-free beer.
If you didn’t know of millet and its potential as a gluten-free ingredient, now you do, and you’ll probably come across it more and more in the future as you scan the ingredients of GF products. Colorado is a global leader in its production, and although much of the state’s millet is exported because it commands a high price in foreign markets, plenty of it will be used domestically and locally, and this will increasingly be the case as more people embrace gluten-free eating.
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