Wild Rice grown at Lake of the Woods County
Have you ever thought that upon driving north to the top of the Minnesota border, on the way to Baudette in Lake of the Woods County, that you would come across rice paddies?? Yes, Wild Rice paddies. Not only is Lake of the Woods known for its pristine waters and a world renown fishery – The Walleye Capital of the World – but the area has many features that might surprise travelers. About 10 miles south of Baudette, MN on Highway 11, you will find indentured land with dikes built around fields. As soon as winter snows melt, you will find these fields flooded for the beginning of growth for wild rice. Lake of the Woods County is one of the 87 counties in Minnesota that has been documented as growers of Wild Rice (Zizania palustris). Wild rice grows in calm, clear water, in soft mucky lake or stream bottoms. The grains are yellow or red and appear at the tip of the stalk in August. In fact, wild rice is one of only two grains native to North America and is the state grain of Minnesota. By the height of summer, the grass stalk will have grown up to 10 to 12 feet above the water line. Wild rice has a higher protein content than most cereal grains, making it a good food for wildlife and humans. Wild rice attracts many wild birds, especially waterfowl and red-winged blackbirds, and it also provides nesting cover for waterfowl. The rice is the only cereal grain native to North America and is gluten free.
Lake of the Woods is home to over 50 resorts. Most all resorts have restaurants within their establishments and often you can find wild rice dishes on the menu. A favorite for this area is Wild Rice Soup made with chicken, cream, celery, onions, carrots and corn. Another delicacy is a combination of white and wild rice served as a side, or a pilaf, combined with our delicious walleye dinners. Walleye cheeks cooked in butter with a pilaf and vegetable is a king’s delight as you sit and gaze over the beautiful Rainy River or Lake of the Woods itself. Be on the lookout for the rice paddies that are also dotted with beautiful snow geese who are choosing their menu of wild rice from the land. For more information on Lake of the Woods and Lodging, please contact: www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com