La Ronge, SK
Wild rice is a grass plant that originated in the Great Lakes region, and is North America’s only native cereal crop. The plant was introduced to Saskatchewan in the 1930s to provide food for muskrats and waterfowl, enhancing hunting and trapping opportunities. The commercial industry took off in the late 1970s helped along by the efforts of northern entrepreneurs who invested time and resources to grow a now flourishing international trade in the province’s wild rice.
Before propeller-driven airboats were introduced, people used canoes for harvesting. One person sat in front and paddled, while the second bent stalks over the boat’s side with a short, tapered stick and used another stick to tap off the rice. Now growers use the wide, flat-bottomed aluminum boats with hulls fitted with collecting trays. As the harvester moves through the rice stands, rice grains hit an angled screen on the header and fall into the tray. Wild rice is harvested in the fall when the flower heads have ripened and turned a rich purple. Once harvested the rice is bagged and transported to a processing facility where it is cleaned and packaged ready for shipment to the market.
What We Do
Saskatchewan produces the world’s finest wild rice. The long cool summer days and natural growing environment produce a large tasty grain that matures slowly during the summer. The grains are high in nutrition with high fibre content and low fat. Wild Rice Producers work cooperatively with the La Ronge Wild Rice Corporation to process and reach international markets collectively.