Monday, October 27, 2008

Rice to Riches

From the founding of the USA up through the late 1800s, the center for rice production was in SC. The crop gilded the lowcountry of the state as Europeans clamored for the nutty-tasting rice that quickly turned SC into one of the richest areas in the New World, as the Europeans referred to us.

However, the opening of the Suez Canal allowed South Asian rice to flood the European market and SC quickly lost its competitive edge as the low-cost producer of a product that it excelled at, something that recently repeated itself with textiles.

Campbell Coxe of Darlington, SC is determined to bring SC back to its past glory of rice production. This fifth generation farmer who operates out of one of the state’s oldest antebellum plantations started planting rice to help attract waterfowl to his commercial hunting operation, Roblyn’s Neck Hunt Club. Each hunter would receive a Christmas gift of his hand grown rice, clamoring for more.

In 1997 Coxe began to commercially cultivate his Carolina Plantation Rice. Today he raises 200 acres of Basmatic aromatic and 30 acres of Carolina Gold, selling his production through specialty retailers like Whole Foods, Fresh Markets, Viking Culinary, Charleston Cooks and others. You can also order it directly online at his website.

American Farmers…finding new ways to develop unique niches. There are lots of Campbell Coxes in this country!

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