October 18, 2017
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In many markets you will find bags of “Carolina” rice. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is “Carolina Gold” rice. History, or perhaps legend, tells us that Carolina Gold rice came to South Carolina in 1685 when a ship traveling from Madagascar stopped in Charleston and paid for repairs with a bag of rice seeds. These seeds were the foundation of South Carolina’s 200 year history as the leading rice producer in the US. This rice’s taste and texture set it apart from other rice and it was in great demand. For various reasons, cultivation died out around the end of the 19th century. Today, a few specialty growers keep it going and sell to the public (yes, it is expensive!).
“Carolina” rice, on the other hand, is nothing more than a trademarked brand name. The rice is not the same strain as Carolina Gold and it can be grown anywhere – Texas, Arkansas, etc. It is perfectly fine rice but is not Carolina Gold and does not have the special taste and texture.