Lundberg Family Farms

Goodlifer: Lundberg Family Farms

I know so many people in the US who regard rice as an afterthought. What a shame! Rice has come a long way from the boring, one-dimensional grain of my childhood. Nobody has done more to prove this than Lundberg Family Farms. How, you ask? By producing beautiful rice and rice blends of different hues, textures, flavors, and even aromas, these folks make a dazzling array of rice products, including (but not limited to) flour, cereal, brown rice syrup, rice cakes, rice chips, and rice pasta.

Wild Rice: Christmas Rice, Wild Blend & Black Japonica.

Wild Rice: Christmas Rice, Wild Blend & Black Japonica.

Organic Rice: White Jasmine, Brown Basmati & Sushi Rice.

Organic Rice: White Jasmine, Brown Basmati & Sushi Rice.

Myself, I’m crazy about their Wild Blend, a combination of sweet brown rice, long grain brown rice, pieces of wild rice, Black Japonica, and Wehani. It makes a very satisfying meal combined with beans or with your favorite hearty meat dish. If you’re looking for an alternative, you’ll find plenty of them, everything from their red Christmas Rice to Brown Basmati to California Sushi, a classic Japanese short grain white rice. Oh, I forgot; I also enjoy their Rice Chips (try the Sea Salt or Fiesta Lime varieties).

Rice Chips: Fiesta Lime, Sea Salt & Wasabi.

Rice Chips: Fiesta Lime, Sea Salt & Wasabi.

Rice Cakes: Organic Tamari with Seaweed, Organic Sweet Green Tea, Eco farmed Toasted Sesame & Eco farmed Brown Rice.

Rice Cakes: Organic Tamari with Seaweed, Organic Sweet Green Tea, Eco farmed Toasted Sesame & Eco farmed Brown Rice.

The company traces its roots back to 1937, when Albert and Frances Lundberg moved to California’s Sacramento Valley from Nebraska. Albert had seen the ravages of the Dustbowl that resulted from poor soil management and short-sighted farming techniques. The desire to care for the soil was carried on to his four sons, Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer, who went on to pioneer organic rice-growing in America.

Albert and Frances Lundberg with their four sons, Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer.

Albert and Frances Lundberg with their four sons, Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer.

Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer Lundberg pioneered organic rice growing in America and still run the family business.

Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer Lundberg pioneered organic rice growing in America and still run the family business.

Knowing that Lundberg Family Farms is an environmentally-aware business makes me almost as happy as their rice does. Some of their products are certified organic; others are what they call “eco-farmed” (see their general FAQ for an explanation of the differences between these two farms). But above all else, this farming concern appears to be interested in sustainability, which really gets my attention. Sustainable farming means looking at the long-term, not just grabbing whatever fast profits you can. Sustainability is about concern for wildlife and allowing some fields to lie fallow to rest and revive themselves. It’s about the use of fewer chemicals in the fields and integrated pest management (controlling pests with biological means, rather than insecticides). It’s about soil health of the type you just can’t get with quick fixes like man-made fertilizers. And frankly, there’s not enough in the way of sustainable agricultural practices happening now.

Since 1937, Lundberg has been using sustainable growing practices to enrich the soils and improve the rice crops

Since 1937, Lundberg has been using sustainable growing practices to enrich the soils and improve the rice crops

OK, time for me to put away that soapbox now! If you haven’t tasted these products before, give them a try. There are lots of whole grain options, as you might expect, and a number of choices for vegans, the gluten-intolerant, and those looking for kosher foods. There are a handful of ways to buy products from Lundberg Family Farms, including their own online store, Amazon.com, and a few other websites; the company also sells at a lot of retail locations throughout the U.S. Remember, rice is nice!

Top photo by sweetbeetandgreenbean, Creative Commons.

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
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  1. I grew up in an area that had tons of rice farming, so we had LOTS of rice growing up. Now I enjoy getting different varieties of rice, like the Lundberg rices.

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