Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Natural Wild Rice
218.335.7400 | Cass Lake, MN |
Leech Lake Wild Rice,
what authentic wild rice
is supposed to taste like.
Leech Lake Wild Rice is naturally grown. Every grain of rice is meticulously hand harvested from the pristine lakes and rivers of Northern Minnesota and carefully processed to ensure quality, nutrition and flavor with every bite. No contaminant, pesticides, or any modern influences. Just mother nature's love in every grain.
Economic Impact For An Under Served Community
Each year, the annual harvest brings in over 100,000 pounds of wild rice. The rice is purchased by our tribes’ Division of Resource Management, which annually provides a significant amount of income and economic boost to the local communities.
We do not operate solely for profit margins, but for the well-being of our communities.
Purchasing hand harvested wild rice contributes to the sustainability of families and continual transfer of traditions to future generations. To increase economic viability, Leech Lake Wild Rice is expanding its reach and providing customers to purchase real wild rice from anywhere in the world and have it delivered to address of choice. We are honored to share our natural, wild grown, and environmentally friendly super food to the world.
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice (Ojibwe: Manoomin;) are four species of grasses forming the genus Zizania, and the grain that can be harvested from them. The plants grow in shallow water in small lakes and slow-flowing streams; often, only the flowering head of wild rice rises above the water. The grain is eaten by dabbling ducks and other aquatic wildlife, as well as by humans.
The species most commonly harvested as grain are annual species, Zizania aquatica was used extensively in the past by Native Americans. Native Americans and others harvest wild rice by canoing into a stand of plants, and bending the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, so as to thresh the seeds into the canoe. The plants are not beaten with the knockers but require only a gentle brushing to dislodge the mature grain. The Ojibwe people call this plant manoomin, meaning "harvesting berry" (commonly translated "good berry"). Some seeds fall to the muddy bottom and germinate later in the year.
Several Native American cultures, such as the Ojibwa, consider wild rice to be a sacred component in their culture. Tribes that are recorded as historically harvesting Zizania aquatica are the Dakota, Menominee, Meskwaki, Ojibwe, Omaha, Ponca, Thompson, and Winnebago. Ways of preparing it varied from stewing the grains with deer broth and or maple syrup, made into stuffing for wild birds, or even steaming it into sweets like puffed rice, or rice pudding sweetened with maple syrup.
The harvest is an important cultural (and often economic) event. The Menominee tribe were named Omanoominii by the neighboring Ojibwa after this plant. Many places in Illinois, Indiana, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Wisconsin are named after this plant, including Mahnomen, Minnesota, Menomonie, Wisconsin; many lakes and streams bear the name "Rice", "Wildrice", "Wild Rice", or "Zizania".
The "poler" pushes the canoe through an area where wild rice is growing.
One person uses "knockers" to gently knock away the grain of rice into canoe. This is done until there is ample rice in the canoe.
The collected "green" wild rice is then placed in open air to dry.
The dried rice is then parched to expire any moisture remaining and make the husk brittle.
The dried rice is then placed into a hole to be "hulled". Hulling is done by grinding the feet, in a twist like motion.
The rice then goes through the "winnowing" process to allow separated hulls to be removed.
The rice is finished and ready to be stored or cooked.
Our Local Processors
The Finishing Process
Our processors utilize minimal technology to mass process our Wild Rice based on the traditional process. These processors are able to maximize production by replicating traditional method of processing to ensure the rice is as true to what nature has intended.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Wild Rice is inspected and certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the standards required by the agency.
All goods have been hand harvested from area lakes and rivers within and surrounding the Leech Lake Reservation.
The green rice is harvested from
regional lakes and rivers.
The wild rice is minimally processed
in steps that replicate tradition.
The finished wild rice is packaged and stored, ready to be shipped.
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Natural Wild Rice
Leech Lake Wild Rice is owned and operated by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Department of Resource Management.
Copyright © 2019 | Pinnacle Marketing Group
All contents and information are based on the existing knowledge and practices available pertaining to the Wild Rice processes and historical story behind the rice. This website was partially made possible through funding from the United States Department of Agriculture grant programs.
Photography by Aaron Fairbanks / Photographs courtesy of LLDRM, LLBO Archives, and Leech Lake Tribal College.