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The Inca's sacred valley, the Vilcanota. Typically, Andean crops have been grown on mountainsides, and many varieties have evolved to fit the diverse environments occurring between the broad valley floors and the tiny terraces at the topmost heights. (N. Vietmeyer)



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Page 417 ~ enlarge ~ The Inca's sacred valley, the Vilcanota. Typically, Andean crops have been grown on mountainsides, and many varieties have evolved to fit the diverse environments occurring between the broad valley floors and the tiny terraces at the topmost heights. (N. Vietmeyer)

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Page 418 ~ enlarge ~ Inca crops in a market in Ipiales, Colombia. These staples of a time-honored diet include arracacha (in foreground), ulluco (pink vegetables), potatoes, and oca (white crop in rear). (C. Sperling)

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Page 419 ~ enlarge ~ Little-known potatoes, Black, red, purple, and white; round, long, straight, and twisted: potatoes grown in the Andes span a range of hue and shape. Beyond the familiar brown oval potato are eight cultivated species that are so far unknown beyond the Andes (see page 93). (M. Rogers)

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Page 420 ~ enlarge ~ Ulluco. This crop's brilliant tubers, one of the most striking foods in Andean markets, have been likened to botanical jewels (see page 105). (C. Sperling)

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Page 421 ~ enlarge ~ Oca. Second only to the potato in importance in the Andes, oca is all but unknown elsewhere, but perhaps has similar international potential (see page 83). Some of its tubers are sweet enough to be eaten as fruits, others are pleasantly sour. The photograph also shows a few ulluco (smooth) and mashua (conical) tubers. (N. Vietmeyer)

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Page 422 ~ enlarge ~ Kiwicha. A nutritious grain all but forgotten for 400 years, kiwicha now is making a dramatic comeback (see page 139). Today, its colorful flowers once more blaze across the Andes as they did in Inca times. (S. King)

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Page 423 ~ enlarge ~ Peppers. Although one Andean pepper, the chile, dominates the cuisines of many lands, the rocoto (background) and Andean ají (foreground) are two peppers that still remain to be discovered by the rest of the world (see page 195). (N. Vietmeyer)

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Page 424 ~ enlarge ~ Nunas, Common beans are among the world's major foods, but the special variety called “nunas” remains unexploited outside the Andes. When heated, these nunas pop, somewhat like popcorn. They are a tasty, nutritious, quick-cooking food with much future promise (see page 173). (J. Kucharski, U.S. Department of Agriculture) ~ enlarge ~ Cherimoya. Enjoyed by all who taste it, the cherimoya (see page 229), given research, could become a major fruit around the world. (A. Rokach)

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Page 425 ~ enlarge ~ Pacay. One of the most unusual trees, the pacay and its botanical relatives produce giant pods filled with a white pulp that is smooth and sweet. For this reason, these pods are sometimes called “ice-cream beans” (see page 277). (W.H. Hodge)

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Page 426 ~ enlarge ~ Goldenberries. Also widely known as cape gooseberries, these are common wayside fruits of the Andes. A few countries have begun commercially producing these tangy fruits that come in their own “paper” husks (see page 241). (Turners and Growers)

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Page 427 ~ enlarge ~ Naranjilla. This yellow relative of the tomato produces a green juice that is one of the culinary delights of Ecuador and the northern Andes (see page 267). With fruit juices in rising demand, this could become a major international product, but the crop first needs research attention. (W.H. Hodge)

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Page 428 ~ enlarge ~ Tamarillo. Another tomato relative, the tamarillo grows on trees. It has a sharp tangy flavor, quite unlike its well-known cousin. Tamarillos are beginning to enter international commerce, and, given research, this crop could have a bright future in a number of nations (see page 307). (D. Greenberg)