Artisan Mill Goods from Organic Heirloom Grains in South Carolina

organic heirloom grains

Today we will explore an essential ingredient found in Southern cuisine, and common to many cultures around the world: rice. We proudly utilize Carolina Gold Rice, a tasty strain with a fascinating history. Sometimes called “The World’s Greatest Rice,” it’s a flavorful, richly textured, long-grain that adds complexity to a variety of dishes. Once the most popular rice in American history, by the mid-1700’s, Carolina Gold was king. But by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the crop almost disappeared entirely. During the Civil War, many rice fields were destroyed, and destructive hurricanes complicated replanting efforts through the early 1900’s. Finally, the Great Depression was almost the end of this tasty grain as it disappeared from the American food scene in favor of mass-produced commercial strains.

Decades later, a fortuitous turn of events led to the most important thing to happen to Southern food in 30 years: an eye doctor named Dr. Richard Schultz discovered neglected seeds in a Savannah, GA seed bank. Originally intending to produce feed for local ducks, Dr. Schultz eventually began planting enough Carolina Gold Rice to sell to the public. By 1988, Glenn Roberts from Anson Mill single-handedly brought old and nearly extinct species of heirloom grains & corn back to life: Carolina Gold Rice was saved, as well as Japanese buckwheat, French oats, Mediterranean wheat, and Italian farro. Now known as The Master Seed Saver, Roberts’ mission first and foremost was flavor. He sought to export local rice around the world, but he started in the south, where traditional recipes flourished with the rediscovered Carolina Gold.

Each day, the kitchen starts with a fresh batch of Carolina Gold Rice that will make its flavorful debut in beloved dishes like our Caramelized Alabama Catfish. Look for that coveted Carolina Gold Rice in new feature dishes on upcoming weekend specials & seasonal menus at The Mill Kitchen and Bar!