|Southern Louisiana is one of the few places in the United States that grows and produces rice.
Rice: Louisianas Cajun cuisine staple
© 2012 Group Tour Media Article,
June 20, 2012
The climate and landscape of southern Louisiana is uniquely suited for cultivating a culinary bounty. Groups can discover a portion of the Louisiana agriculture scene with visits to the Crystal Rice Heritage Farm in Crowely and New Iberia’s Conrad Rice Mill. Both have been feeding the South for more than 100 years.
The family-run Crystal Rice Heritage Farm had its start in 1890 when Salmon “Sol” Lusk Wright began cultivating the crop. The Indiana native saw an advertisement in the newspaper that changed his life. Enticed to move south, Wright left for a new life, where he developed varieties of rice and milling processes.
His descendants continue to operate the Crystal Rice Heritage Farm, which first invited tourists in the 1960s.
The farm is located approximately five miles southwest of Crowley. Group tours, which are available for 15 or more people, begin with a 15-minute orientation of family history and the farm. Tour planners can add additional elements — an agri-tour, Acadian cottage visit, classic car garage tour and the Cajun Cooking School — to create an experience suited to their group’s time, interests, and budget.
The agri-tour begins with a video that explains the step-by-step process on how rice and crawfish are grown in the same field. Questions are encouraged during the hour-long class given by a farmer who knows the answers well.
Groups also can tour Francine’s Blue Rose Museum, a two-story Acadian Cottage, built in 1848 and filled with fine china, silver, furniture, and items depicting Acadian and Creole history. With a visit to Salmon’s Classic Car Garage, groups will see a number or Mercedes-Benz models as well as rare autos.
The Grand Group Package combines all three of those experiences with a traditional Cajun meal. The chef will prepare a three-course meal as the group watches and follows along with recipes. Then, friendly wait staff will then serve the meal for everyone to enjoy.
For more details, call (337) 783-6417 or visit www.crystalrice.com.
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|Rice, a staple of diets around the world, is part of Louisiana's agricultural bounty.
Once rice is harvested, it needs to be processed.
Conrad Rice Mill, in continuous operation since 1912, has earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Built from cypress and tin by Phillip Conrad, the mill is a rare surviving example of a factory using early 20th-century belt-driven power transmission.
The mill was purchased by Mike Davis in 1975, and has since been known for its rice, beans, and spice products.
Tours begin next door at the Konriko Company store, which is housed in a replica of an early plantation company store from the area. After a slide presentation on Cajun culture and its evolution, a local guide will explain how rice is grown and harvested.
Moving on to the mill, groups can see what production is going on that day, which can could be milling rice, packaging seasonings, or making rice cakes and crackers.
The store is stocked with the mill’s products as well as other food items, cookbooks, crafts, and souvenirs from Cajun country. Complimentary samples of the mill’s rice mixes and hot Cajun coffee are available for visitors.
Call (800) 551-3245 or visit www.conradricemill.com for more.
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