Experience is a key part of producing a quality crop, especially when it comes to wild rice. Our family has been doing this for decades, and a keen eye that can only come from experience is what we bring to our harvest. This means knowing when a crop is ripe and ready for harvest, how long to cure the grain, and the optimal roasting time to achieve that signature nutty flavour.
Wild Man ricing has harvesting rights to seven lakes in Manitoba, from Sherridon to The Pas and on. Using a small fleet of air and pontoon boats, our family uses hoppers from 10 to 20 feet wide to gather ripe crop. In essence, the boats hover over the surface of the water, minimizing the damage to the rice stalks so that they can be re-harvested in another couple weeks.
After collection, the fresh rice is transported to a facility in Saskatchewan, just across the border from Flin Flon.
Cleaning and Curing
The grains must then be cleaned and dried, in addition to the curing process. To enhance the curing process, our green wild rice lies dormant for a varying period of time to enhance the product. Throughout this time the grain must be continuously moistened and turned to avoid overheating.
The ability to roast the crop to perfection comes with experience, dedication and, most of all, passion. To achieve a rich, dark hue and delicious nutty flavour, our raw crop is slow roasted through our signature family process to achieve the finest final product.
Before our rice is ready for packaging, a mechanical husker separates the seed, or kernel, from the grain’s chaff. The seeds must then alse have the outer bran layer removed through a separate process, ensuring uniformity in the final product, including cooking time and consistency.
Using a specialized gravity table, the grains are graded by size and inspected by hand. The grains are then ready for packaging.
Our grains are packed into 50 pound sacks at the mill before they return to The Pas for individual sorting and final sales.