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Hummus drives chickpea growth

FILE - In this Aug. 28 2013 file phoFlorentino Ornelas mill assistant Blue MountaSeed WallWallWash.unloads chickpeas for processing plant. Acreage

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013 file photo, Florentino Ornelas, mill assistant at Blue Mountain Seed in Walla Walla, Wash.,unloads chickpeas for processing at the plant. Acreage devoted to chickpeas has exploded in the past decade in Washington and Idaho, which grow some two-thirds of the nation's supply. Chickpeas require little water, and that's a major plus in the dry region. (AP Photo/Tri-City Herald, Paul T. Erickson, File)

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Updated: April 7, 2014 1:13PM



SPOKANE, Wash. — The rising popularity of hummus across the nation has been good for farmers like Aaron Flansburg.

Flansburg, who farms 1,900 acres in southeastern Washington, has been increasing the amount of the chickpeas used to make hummus by about one-third each year.

Land devoted to chickpeas has exploded in the past decade in Washington and Idaho, which grow some two-thirds of the nation’s supply.

In the Palouse region, which straddles both states, there are more than 150,000 acres producing chickpeas today, up from about 12,000 acres in 2000, said Todd Scholz of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council.

Chickpeas are also grown in California, Montana, North Dakota and other states, he said.

Historically, about 70 percent of the chickpea crop in this region was exported each year, Flansburg said. But that has changed because of the rising domestic demand for hummus, he said.

The majority of the nation’s supply is consumed domestically, mostly in the form of hummus, Scholz said.



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