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The Market for Teff has Expanded from the East African Diaspora to Health-conscious Consumers

Teff, an ancient grain native to the Horn of Africa, has found new enthusiasts in the United States. It’s being cultivated in the American West and Midwest, where growers note its increasing appeal as a gluten-free “super food.” One of those farmers is Tesfa Drar, who grew up helping his parents raise teff in what is now Eritrea. Now his Selam Foods markets the iron-rich grain online, with a website sharing recipes for injera and the history of teff, one of the oldest domesticated plants. Tesfa cultivates the grain on more than 2,400 hectares of land here in Nevada, in Minnesota – where Selam Foods has its headquarters – and in six other states. His operation here in northwestern Nevada is near Winnemucca, a town that boasts 24-hour casinos as well as a farming community built on growing potatoes, alfalfa, wheat and corn. But now more farmers are moving to capitalize on the growing demand for gluten-free foods by planting teff.