Rice is nice
Rice is the most widely consumed grain in the world, and California has 500,000 acres of rice farms—most within 100 miles of Sacramento. In the late ’90s, fourth-generation rice farmer Manuel Massa converted 90 of his family’s 700 acres in Hamilton City (near Chico) to organic. Their Calrose variety of brown rice is farmed sustainably by Manuel and his wife, both biologists with strong ecological goals.
It is sold at the weekly Davis Farmers Market and at some of the Sacramento farmers markets as well. Their product is unusual in that they sell it themselves, working with a small mill to dehull the grains. Be sure to ask whoever is manning the table for their favorite recipes and cooking tips.
The health benefits of eating brown rice are many; it’s gluten free, high in fiber, and has been linked to reduction in cancer and stroke risk. The state’s rice paddies are also home to more than 230 wildlife species, including migratory ducks and geese that winter in the Central Valley. Rice is amazingly versatile, making it a really useful local ingredient to keep on hand.