Lentils: Farm to Table

About PNW Co-op:

Our lentils are grown on family farms within a 60-mile radius of Pullman, WA, and Moscow, Idaho. Known as the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest, this place that we call home is known for its rich, volcanic soil and rolling hills.

We generally plant lentils in March or April, depending on weather. The plants, which resemble short garden pea plants, grow close to the ground until the hot summer sun naturally dries the lentils in their pods. They’re typically harvested in mid to late August. 

Ladybugs provide natural insect control in a field of Caviar black lentils at RimRock Ranches in Genesee, ID.

Caviar lentils are harvested at RimRock Ranches in Genesee, ID.

After harvest, the lentils are transported to PNW Co-op’s storage facilities, where they’re segregated into their own bins. Every load of lentils is documented and assigned quality control lot numbers, for traceability. 

The lentils are cleaned right before shipment. This is no easy process. The lentils are run through various high-tech machines that separate the lentils from the non-lentil material picked up during harvest. This includes plant matter, wheat or barley kernels, tiny pebbles or clumps of dirt. (Some material sneaks through machines, so we recommend rinsing and sorting all dried lentils before cooking.)  

This what the Caviar black lentils look like in the combine hopper, right after harvest.

Once delivered to PNW Co-op, lentils are stored in tightly-covered bins until they're cleaned and bagged for shipment. Tight quality control standards follow all legumes from field to table.

Once cleaned, the lentils are bagged and tagged with quality control info, including date of processing, lot number and a “best by” date of two years from the time of processing. As long as lentils are kept cool and dry, they’ll store for 10 years or more. We prefer a “best by” date of two years for maximum freshness.

Once bagged, the lentils are shipped to stores, restaurants, schools and food processors throughout the country.


Want to learn more?

Call us at (509) 487-0755 or send an email to: Info@EatRealPNW.com. We’re always eager to chat about our farms.

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