Wild Rice Country: A History of Harvesting
With the autumn air is getting a little crisper, it's finally time to pull out those heartwarming and belly-satisfying wild rice recipes!
By: Green Food Inc.
Wild rice has been naturally abundant in the cold rivers and cool lakes of the Upper Midwest and Canada for a long time. In fact, wild rice has been an essential part of the landscape for animals and humans alike since prehistoric times. For early North American inhabitants, such as the Chippewa and Sioux Indians, wild rice was an essential staple grain. Wild rice served as an important cultural and spiritual force and was often seen as a gift from the Creator.
From its initial collection to today's modern harvesting in Minnesota state waters, certain traditional and protected wild rice varieties are harvested by hand, using non-motorized canoes with the canoe-and-flail method to help preserve the tradition of this integral grain. Only licensed professionals are allowed to harvest, and they do so with only a pole and two rice beater sticks as tools.
Hand-harvesting is seen as a nod to tradition, but it also helps to ensure the quality of each harvest. Only mature and ripe kernels are collected, while immature kernels fall back into the water to prepare for the following year's crop.
Contrary to what many people believe, wild rice is not rice at all but a grass. Much of it sold today is grown in man made lakes or ponds(paddy rice), where the lakes are drained in the fall for harvest. Our rice is all grown in Manitoba, Canada's natural, pristine lakes which produce a longer, fuller darker grain. As our summer days are longer, our natural rice has the opportunity to mature to perfection.
Our rice meets or exceeds the organic standards for Canada, the USA and Europe.
We are certified organic through OPAM (Organic Producers Association of Manitoba) and Non-GMO verified through the Non-GMO project
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