Exploring South Carolina's gold: The rice culture

Image by Flickr user savannahgrandfather Image by 20090729-kaya.jpg For the more adventurous, you can explore the old rice canals by kayaking.

Before there was cotton in South Carolina there was rice. And rice was big business.

The Boston Globe has a nice feature on the culture and where you can find traces of that history today, a taste:

The crop that made South Carolina America’s richest colony runs through restored plantations, food, a language, and lives here. You’ll find it at Magnolias in a forkful of creek shrimp perloo flecked with Carolina Gold, on a kayak in old rice canals, and at Charleston Cooks where silver-plated rice spoons and Karen Hess’s “The Carolina Rice Kitchen’’ fly off the shelves. Although there’s no designated trail that I’m aware of, as I traveled from Charleston to Georgetown, the roads led to rice.  

“Wherever there was water, rice was planted. It changed the land completely,’’ said Kristina Poole, Middleton Place outdoor director, as I trailed her on a paddle up the Ashley River. “But where most human developments harm wildlife, rice left us richer in plant and animal diversity,’’ she said.

It's a nice piece, well worth a read. Hop on over. They also have a worthy photo gallery and map of rice-related sites

If you want more, Slow Food USA has more factual information on South Carolina's rice, and who's still making it today.

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