Wilmington and Brunswick County, NC are planning to start a North Carolina Rice Festival to point up the long history of rice culture on the Cape Fear River. The article also gives an update on efforts at Orton Plantation to join the ranks of old rice fields once again producing Carolina Gold and other heirloom rice strands.
Although it escaped my attention last fall, the Weekly Surge, the free weekly out of Myrtle Beach, ran a none of the best pieces in recent years on the “rice-growing renaissance” taking place in that South Carolina.
Tim Carman of The Washington Post wrote a piece on Heinz Thomet, a Maryland truck crop farmer who is experimenting with rice. Thomet has tried several varieties including Carolina Gold and is also using the SRI method of rice production.
Goodwill Plantation in Richland County once grew rice using the inland impoundment methods. Now, a gold mining company wants to buy the plantation and give it the state of South Carolina as a public nature preserve in consideration of Federal approval of the mines environmental impact. Read more about in The State.
Lowcountry native Jonathan Green has achieved loyal following during his still thriving career as a painter. Recently he has launched a new venture – The Lowcountry Rice Project – with the cooperation of a number of scholars, agriculturalists, and other friends. Two upcoming events help to draw attention to his efforts: a new exhibit of his work at the Avery Institute at the College of Charleston and a conference this September. The AP recently covered these developments as seen in the Miami Herald.
Recently Garden & Gun ran a profile of Professor David Shields and Glen Roberts. The piece has now been made available online. If you do not know of them, they have both been closely associated with efforts to resuscitate the growing and eating of Carolina Gold Rice. Shields is a scholar at the University of South Carolina. Roberts runs Anson Mills in Columbia which specializes in milling and packaging heirloom grains. Together they work to bring back into wider cultivation a host of heirloom foods. Read more at G&G.
The Salem Gazette (MA) ran a substantial story on the Gullah – Geechee Corridor and its ties to rice culture recently. The piece gives a nice primer on the recent history of the Corridor.
The Coastal Observer (Pawley’s Island, SC) recently published a profile of a Wachesaw Plantation resident who has taken a keen interest in rice kingdom history. The story offers some nice bites of history of Wachesaw and Richmond Hill plantations on Waccamaw Neck.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution spread the word on the Gullah-Geechee Corridor complete with a nod to rice culture in a recent edition. They focused on the presentation of Gullah culture and slave life on Boone Hall Plantation for what was really a travel piece.
Since 2010 state archaeologists have been working with the help of many volunteers to learn more about the lives of the slaves on the state-owned property. Hampton is famous, in part because Archibald Rutledge, South Carolina’s first poet laureate, made it his home in the early twentieth century. He wrote several of his books about living and hunting there. This turns the attention to majority of occupants of the plantation through its rice growing years.
The “Big House” at Hampton Plantation. Photo by author October, 2010
The associated press ran a piece on this which has appeared in several papers such as linked above and a shorter version appeared the Charlotte Observer.