Mississippi Delta Rice

Rice is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the local food movement, unless you live in an Asian country or India where it has been produced for thousands of years. Historically speaking it is a “new” crop here but, The Unites States produces about 20 billion pounds of rice each year and the state of Arkansas produces nearly half of that with Mississippi at about 8%. Consequently, many localvores can enjoy rice and still maintain their pledge to support local farmers and suppliers.

I grew up in Middle Tennessee in a family that only ate rice for breakfast (sweetened and with a little milk) as an occasional alternative to oatmeal. Our family favored potatoes as the primary starch at other meals. As an adult with a gluten intolerance, however, I eat a lot of rice and, fortunately, there are local choices. In the grocery stores you can find Riceland brand white and brown rice. Riceland Foods, Inc.is located in Stuttgart, Arkansas and is a large cooperative of 9,000 rice farmers across the Delta and one of the largest in the US.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a bag of brown and a bag of white jasmine rice at the Memphis Farmer’s Market from Earth Sprung Grain out of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. This vendor is relatively new to the MFM and the rice was tasty and wonderfully fragrant- everything you want in jasmine rice. A 2 pound bag was about $4, not a bad price at all for locally-sourced and high-quality rice.

I used brown Earth Sprung Grain rice in my spanakorizo from April 20.


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