Delta Blues Rice
Single variety rice grown in Mississippi and sold directly by the farm
Sure, it's easy to know your tomatoes come from the community garden, berries from Berkshire County, grass-fed beef from Lancaster, PA—but knowing where your rice comes from is a little harder. From the Mississippi Delta comes an effort to bring rice straight to the table: Delta Blues Rice. The Arants' multi-generational farm grows corn and soybeans—which are sold to make products like crayons—but rice is their one crop grown specifically for food. Until recently, it was only grown (and milled at the Arants' own small rice mill) to feed themselves and friends, but jumping off of the unexpected enthusiasm, Delta Blues Rice was established to be able to share quality, flavorful rice with more people, many of who've grown up on only supermarket versions. Part of this decision meant investing in better performing high-tech milling equipment—thus the rice is grown, milled and packaged by the farm, and even sold directly to you.
Fourth generation farmer (and civil engineer) David Arant, Jr explains to CH that brown and white aren't different types of rice, but the same product; white rice just goes through an additional step in the milling process. "Once the outside husk is removed, the brown rice is revealed. If we want to produce white rice, we polish the brown rice to remove the bran," he says. "There are many different types of rice grown throughout the United States and the world; each variety has its own flavor, cooking characteristics, length and width. We have chosen a variety that we consider to be the best of what we grow. We think that it has the best flavor and cooking characteristics." He adds, "Another difference between our rice and others on the market is that most of the rice you buy on the store shelf has many different varieties of rice that are co-mingled together. Because there are so many varieties of rice grown in the US, it is easier for large operations to mix it all together and mill it out." Delta Blues Rice only has one variety of rice in each of its bags, resulting in consistent taste and cooking temperatures (which chefs especially love).
Find the bags of brown rice, white rice and rice grits from Delta Blues Rice online, where there's also bulk options (in 25 lbs)—great for those who want to save on money and packaging. Delta Blues Rice is also available at stockists like Farm to People.
Images by Cool Hunting