In 1998, I toured a fallow rice field near a neglected, yet historic plantation-styled farm house near Charleston with host Glenn Roberts. At that time, he was on course to revive the long-grain rice — Carolina Gold — that had been the cash crop of South Carolina until the mid-1860s.
Today, Roberts' Anson Mills organic heirloom products are the closest we can get to the ingredients necessary for the original recipes of Carolina Rice Kitchen cuisine, arguably the South's first distinct cuisine. Anson Mills products can be found on menus in Charlotte and across the U.S. Recently, Charleston chef Sean Brock showcased Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice in the PBS current season of Mind of a Chef.
In addition to Gold Rice and corn grits, Anson Mills grows Japanese buckwheat, French oats, Mediterranean wheat and Italian farro. Anson Mills is located in Columbia, S.C.
Long-grain rice, like Carolina Gold, is fragile, often breaking during processing. These broken rice grains are sold as Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Grits and have become a hot commodity, developing a chef following of their own due to their inherent creamy, risotto-like texture. Anson Mills rice grits are featured in the shrimp and grits entrée at e2 Emeril's Eatery (135 Levine Avenue of the Arts) and Mimosa Grill (327 S. Tryon St.). Note: Mimosa uses Anson Mills corn grits in their morning grits dishes.
Anson Mills has a direct order line for chefs, with a 50-pound mix-and-match minimum. Since its rice, corn products and flours need refrigeration, the company has not used traditional retail outlets such as grocery stores. But consumers can buy through Anson Mill's online store: http://ansonmills.com/products.
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