It’s been a beautiful end of the summer. Last year we started a new tradition of going wild ricing with Jim’s cousins Rebecca Lewis and Jeff Denny on Labor Day weekend. It was a gorgeous day out on the lake. We were even fortunate enough to get some free lessons from some very experienced ricers. A delightful day indeed.
We are happy to announce that we now offer Minnesota wild rice! Members of Jim’s family have been harvesting wild rice for years. So this past summer, Jim and I joined them and learned all about how to harvest wild rice. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. It was amazing to watch these experienced wild rice harvesters traverse through the wetlands as they gently and skillfully hand-harvested the kernels off the stock and filled their canoes with ripe rice.
Since we Jim and I are beginners, our overall contribution to the harvest was very small. But we know we will get better at it with more practice in the years to come.
Our hand-harvested Minnesota wild rice is now available through our website store, plus you’ll find a collection of favorite recipes as well. What better holiday gift than Minnesota wild rice, Minnesota maple syrup, and Minnesota honey?!
This Labor Day Weekend, we did something we have been thinking about doing for a long, long, time. Harvesting wild rice.
I grew up surrounded by wild rice up at my family’s lake cabin. The sad truth is that many of the lakeshore owners looked at wild rice as a problem, rather than a resource. For wild rice to thrive, it needs a shallow shoreline with a very mucky bottom. So that doesn’t make for a very delightful beach for cabin owners to enjoy, so sadly, the wild rice along the shore at my family’s cabin has long disappeared.
But thankfully, there are many shorelines among Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes where wild rice is thriving. So we decided to have some fun, take a day off from the farm, and spend a beautiful day up on Big Sandy Lake near McGregor, an hour drive north of Mora, and gave wild rice harvesting a try.
It was really easy and really fun. You’ll see that I am bending the rice into the bow of the canoe, then taking these big drum sticks and sweeping the rice off the stalk. Meanwhile, Jim is standing in the back of the canoe, pushing us through the wild rice paddies, much like a gondola driver in Venice.
To harvest wild rice in Minnesota, a permit is required by the DNR. A day license is $16 and a season-long license is $26. The season begins on August 15th and runs through September 30th. Harvesting can take place daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. When we came to shore, we happily showed our licenses to the DNR officer who was at the boat launch to greet the five ricing teams that went out that day.
A delightful day, and we will definitely be doing this again.