GROWING WILD RICE IN SASKATCHEWAN
WHAT IS WILD RICE ?
Wild rice is a type of grass . It is also called "water oats".
It can grow to be about 2.5 meters tall with five or six long
thin leaves and long stems.
It grows in the shallow waters along the northern
lakes, rivers and streams of Sask.
HOW DOES IT GROW ?
In fall, in the spring as soon as the ice melts,
wild rice is seeded in the shallow waters.
Wild rice is seeded by hand ( from a canoe ) or with a seeder.
It is harvested ( picked ) by hand or with a machine in late August or early September.
The latest method of harvest is using an airboat that has beater bars
and a catch tray. More rice can be harvested this way.
Then the rice is
taken to a processing plant where it is cleaned and stored in bags.
IN THE EARLY DAYS
For hundreds of years First Nations people ate wild rice.
- Wild rice was originally harvested in canoes;
- Some Indian tribes still harvest it this way.
- Using a paddle, the thin stems were bent over into the canoe;
- A stick or flail was used to swat the plant.
- This made the grain fall into the bottom of the boat.
- Then the grain was spread out in the sun to dry
( or dried over a fire ).
- The outer coat of the seed was removed by threshing
or hand rubbing.
WILD RICE PRODUCTION IN SASK.
The wild rice is grown and harvested from the northern lakes of Saskatchewan. After the rice is harvested, it is processed, packaged and sold. Northern Lights Foods is
a company owned and operated by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. La Ronge Wild Rice
Corporation is a wild rice processing company.
Much of the rice is sold to the United States, to Japan and to European markets.
The rice is also a valuable food for water fowl ( wild ducks and geese )
and other birds. Wildlife, like deer, moose and muskrats also depend
on wild rice as a source of food.