Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Carolina's Gold Rice #FlavoursomeTuesday

In 2011,  I took my first trip to Charleston, South Carolina and immediately fell in love with the city.

Now, in the aftermath of the snowstorm that hit the Southern United States, and drove temperatures in Charleston down to record levels, Charleston is on my mind.  I had come close to visiting it this month, but it never happened.

But back to 2011...

In that visit we had a wonderful location and easy access (an easy walk down the narrow sidewalks of the historic Ansonborough neighborhood where we stayed) to the Charleston City Market.

The Market consists of several open buildings in a four block area. These are the entrances to two of the buildings, as they appeared in 2011.  If you had watched coverage of the Charleston snowstorm, you saw this market.
The Market (at least, when we visited in March of 2011 and 2014) is not primarily a "farmers market" and not all the goods are locally produced, either.  But we had a wonderful time talking and interacting with some of the local artists, and went back several times.

One product that is local, and a revival of a historic heirloom food, is Carolina Gold Rice.

What we bought was grown locally and distributed through Charleston Specialty Foods. The distinctive yellow cloth bags packages of this rice are sold by several vendors at the market, and also are for sale at various historical venues throughout the Charleston area.  As the bag explains:

"In 1685, a distressed merchant ship paid for repairs in Charleston with a small quantity of rice seed from Madagascar.  Dr. Henry Woodward planted the seed in South Carolina, beginning the state's 200 year history as the leading rice producer in the United States."

So why should you pay a lot more for an heirloom variety of rice than the plain old (I won't mention any brand names) stuff you find on the supermarket shelves?

For various reasons, including the freeing of enslaved populations whose labor had permitted the cultivation of rice, rice farming had slowed in the South Carolina low country. The Carolina Gold Rice Foundation is attempting a comeback for this rice, and as the bag also explains "We are proud to be South Carolina's first product made with Green-e Certified Renewable Energy."

So how can you go wrong?  In one swoop you encourage the production of heritage foodstuffs, and support renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.

The rice can be ordered online and they ship on - why not? Tuesdays. (I just offer this for information; I am not receiving any compensation for this.)

So, how does it taste?  And what is the rice like?

I would judge it as medium grain.

It's definitely distinctive, and delicious.   Spouse (our family cook) made a pilaf with it.  It came out fluffy, and nice.  To me, it also tastes like butter was already added to it.

And the best part? One of my cousins in my recent Florida visit had tasted Carolina Gold Rice and had much the same opinion.

I think South Carolina has a winner here.

Join Bellybytes at Mumbai on a High and Shilpa Gupte at Metanoia for their linky party at #FlavoursomeTuesdays. If you want to share a food related memory, why not join us?


  1. Now you have me trying to remember what I bought at the market when I was there. Might have to get out my pictures and see if it jogs my memory.

  2. Thank you for the post, Alana!
    Locally grown foodstuffs are always considered not just tasty and healthy, but also bring prosperity to the place they indigenous to , isn't it?

  3. I will have to try it. But, I remain unconvinced that my Basmati Dark Rice or Jasmine rice suppliers have much to worry.

  4. Sounds like a little operation if they only ship one day a week. That's a compliment. It's good to encourage the smaller producers.

  5. This rice is definitely a winner! A migration dating back to 200 years from Madagascar to USA, surviving and then thriving and then becoming a heritage...wow thats quite a tale. And good to know that it is a winner on the test front too!

  6. Wow! India has a huge variety of rice each very distinctive. I have found that the local ones are always the tastiest... Thanks for sharing this info Alana!

  7. Good to know about this specific variety of rice :-)

  8. That's an interesting story I am glad to hear about, Alana. Can see how this brand of rice has turned out to be a winner for everyone concerned. I would love to try making mushroom rice with it someday, a comfort food that seems to me would turn out really good with this one. But, first, I need to source it. Let me check it out online. Thanks a lot for sharing this here. I am joining in the prompt with my sweet memories this week. Do stop by, Alana.

  9. Thanks so much Alana for joining in. Your contribution was delightfully informative and since I love rice, I will look out for this variety the next time I shop in an American store. I look forward to more of your contributions!


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