Wild Rice is a staple food of several groups of First Nation people in North America, who call it manoomin, or “precious grain”. In fact, Wild rice is niot a rice at all but rather the seed of Zizania Palustris, a tall, blooming water grass. This makes wild-rice the only cereal grain that is truly native to the North American Continent.
Though Zizania Palustris grows naturally in the Great Lakes region of Minnesota, a California farmer in the early 1980’s thought it would do well in the Fall River area of California. Today, the area in the Northern Sierra Cascades has become the world’s largest wild rice growing region.
From their snow-capped heights, majestic Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen tower over a valley where fertile soils, clean air, and crisp climate provide ideal growing conditions for wild rice. Fall River Valley also hosts a Wild Rice Festival each summer and is the home of Fall River Wild Rice, a small grower-owned cooperative.