Wild Rice, a staple food of several groups of First Nation people in North America, who called it manoomin, or “precious grain”, isn’t really a rice at all but rather the seed of Zizania Palustris, a tall, blooming water grass. This water grass is the only cereal grain truly native to the North American Continent.
Wild rice grows naturally in the Great Lakes region of Minnesota, but a California farmer in the early 80’s thought it would do well in the Fall River area. He was right . Today, California’s Fall River Valley 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 the valley where fertile soils, clean air, and crisp climate provide ideal growing conditions for the ancient wild grain. Fall River Valley hosts a Wild Rice Festival each summer and is the home of Fall River Wild Rice, a small grower-owned cooperative.