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Today is May 10, 2021

Featured Cookbook

Between the Levees

By Sandra M. Buckley

Between the Levees

Celebrating National Rice Month in September

Since the 1940s, farmers in the Mississippi Delta have been cultivating their rich soil to grow a farm to table favorite — rice. Today, it is one of the state’s top agriculture exports with Mississippi ranking fifth in the United States for rice production.

“Here we are in 2019, and we are now one of the leading states in the USA for rice production,” said Laura Giaccaglia of the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension in Cleveland. “Our annual rice crop contributes more than $130 million to our state’s economy. Not only is rice making a huge contribution in dollars, but it provides thousands of jobs for people who work on farms and in the rice industry.”     

In 2018, there were 135,000 acres of rice harvested across 259 farms in Mississippi — including in Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Grenada, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Washington and Yazoo counties.

Consumers who choose high-quality Mississippi grown rice products, such as Two Brooks Farms and Delta Blues Rice, can be assured it is also locally harvested, milled and packaged. “Next time you purchase rice, take a look at the label,” she added. “Make sure you are purchasing locally grown rice. Not only will you experience comfort knowing where your food came from, but you will also be supporting Mississippi farmers who practice sustainability and who support conservation efforts.”

To help celebrate September as National Rice Month in Mississippi, Delta Rice Promotions, Inc., a Bolivar County-based volunteer organization, along with MSU Extension, is hosting the 29th Annual Rice Tasting Luncheon September 20 in Cleveland. The event draws around 1,500 people and features buffets of more than 300 rice dishes prepared by area restaurants and volunteer cooks for guests to sample and explore the versatility of rice. “There will be tastings of appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts — something for everyone to enjoy,” Giaccaglia said. “Most people are amazed at how many ways rice can be prepared.”   

Delta Rice Promotions also offers the award-winning cookbook, “Between the Levees,” whose name is significant because levees are essential to rice farming. The cookbook features more than 500 recipes, with the mission to “give the potato a rest, and eat the best — rice!”   

“Between the Levees” cookbook will be available for $10 at the September 20 luncheon. Visit or call 662-843-8371 for event tickets, the cookbook, recipes and more information.

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