Wild rice, or manoomin is the only grain native to North America, sacred to the Anishinaabeg (Ojibway). Not a true rice, it is an aquatic cereal grass, high in protein and low in fat. Native wild rice grows naturally in pristine northern lakes and rivers. Commercial growers have developed cultivated rice, called paddy rice. But is is a far cry from native wild rice and it does not cook the same way, is not harvested the same way, and is not chemical-free.
The Native Harvest brand wild rice we sell at the Wedge is gathered by the Anishinaabeg people of the White Earth Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota. The methods have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. The only tools are a canoe, a pole to navigate the canoe, and two ricing sticks that knock the rice into the canoe. After drying, the rice is parched over an open fire to remove moisture and preserve the grain. Finally the hull is removed from the kernel by shaking the rice into the air, allowing the lighter chaff to fly away in the wind.
The rice is harvested annually only when conditions are just right. Wild rice needs pure water to thrive, and the water level, temperature and even the wind have to be in perfect balance or the crop can easily be compromised or lost. Here is excellent information about how wild rice grows.
Native Harvest Brand Wild Rice is a significant element of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, whose "mission is to facilitate the recovery of the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation, while preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship, language fluency, community development, and strengthening our spiritual and cultural heritage." (from the product packaging) So when you buy Native Harvest Wild Rice from the Wedge, you are not only getting a natural and nutritious food, you are supporting the first Minnesotans.