Minnestalgia Food Shop
Minnestalgia Winery

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Wild Rice - Long Grain, Polenta & Flour

Wild Rice Side Dish/Waffle Mixes 

Wild Rice Cereal/Waffle Mixes

Wild Rice Soup Mixes

MN Fresh Roasted Coffees

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Favorite MN Products

Crates & Gift Boxes

      Prepacked Gift Boxes and Sampler Paks - perfect for all Occasions

             Prepacked Crates - perfect for a Thank You

                Empty Gift Boxes - build your own boxes

                Empty Crates - build your own crates

 


 

 

 

 

All Things Wild Rice 
Photos courtesy of Nathan Kosbau

Click here to shop/order our MN Wild Rice

Whether it is called Manoomin ("good berry" or "good seed") by the early Native Americans, or Riz Sauvage ("wild rice") or Folles Avoines ("wild oates") by the first Europeans and Traders, there is no other grain that has so much history (about 10,000 years).

 

 

 

 

Nor is there another grain that has been so culturally or spiritually revered. 

The Story of Minnesota Hand Harvested Lake Wild Rice

One of the rituals and traditions left to the Ojibwa or Chippewa People of Northern Minnesota is the annual harvesting of the Wild Rice which grows naturally in the rivers and lakes - untouched by chemicals, controlled by nature...not by man.  The harvesting of the Wild rice is done much the same as it was centuries ago with canoe and knocking sticks.  1 person pushes the canoe through the water and the other sits and knocks the ripe kernels into the bottom of the canoe using 2 flail sticks. Since the beginning of the Ojibwa People, wild rice harvesting has been a time of ceremony and celebration and has always been a vital link in their spiritual and physical survival and, as such, was celebrated as a deity.  Many battles were fought with other Indian Nations over the possession of the Wild Rice producing waters.  A good harvest could mean the difference between a good winter or a bad one; life or death.                                      

 

   

 

 

 Wild Rice also has some side benefits in that where ever it grows, it attracts ducks, geese and fish which are used as a food source.

Other protected species found shelter and food as well.  This symbiotic relationship is as relevant today as it was then.

The Story of Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice                                                                                 
When the Europeans arrived, wild rice was taken to a new level as a valuable trading item and so began a new race to control and harvest this unique food source.  Wild Rice was always subject to the influence of storms, winds, temperature variations and insect and bird predation.  The harvest varied with these natural influences.  While one year would be good, the next 3 would range from mediocre to bad.  In the lean years, the Native peoples would probably put away enough to get them through the winter but have nothing left over for trading.

With the market demanding more than could be harvested with any consistency, this native grain was ripe for modernization. 

Enter the late 1950's and 60's and Jim and Gerald Godward near Crosslake, MN who were the first to begin "farming" wild rice.

 
 

 

 

 

Tommy Godward (right) and his long time helper Art Jensen (left)

 

 

They were followed by Algot Johnson along with Franklin Kosbau who was joined by his brother Harold near Waskish, MN.

 

 

 

 

Nathan Kosbau (left) Grandson of Harold Kosbau and Arnie Lueck (right) partner in MacGregor Wild Rice of Aitkin, MN.

  These men and the other families that soon followed, were true entrepreneurs in the purest sense of the word.  Not only was this a crop that had never been grown by man before, all of the knowledge and equipment to produce it did not yet exist.  It was an exciting and daring time with many tales of trying and failing and adjusting and trying again.  This was no easy undertaking.  There were many inherent problems to overcome such as the need to control water levels,  "shattering" which is where a strong wind or violent movement would knock all the ripe kernels into the water, different fungus caused by warm or wet weather conditions, insect and bird predation, to name a few.

American ingenuity won the day and by the 1970s and and 1980s a consistent crop was being produced at a marketable price, bringing this valuable, gourmet food source to the table of the average American as well as to those same over seas markets that had gotten their first taste of it from the traders returning from the "New World".

 

 

 

 

 

 The Story of Minnesota Airboat Harvested Lake Wild Rice

In Minnesota, on private property only, Lake Wild Rice can be harvested by Airboat.  The Airboat will skim lightly over the water and "knock" the ripe rice into a large mettle scoop on the front of the Airboat.  This process does not harm the stock and it will stand up again after the Airboat passes.  With this process producing more pounds of rice per day than the Hand Harvesting with Canoe method, the Airboat Lake Rice is slightly less expensive but will cook and taste exactly the same as our Hand Harvested Lake Wild Rice.