Sushi Rice, California’s New Gold Rush

California is joining the ranks of world class rice producers. Though southern growers have long monopolized the U.S.’s domestic rice industry, California has become second only to Thailand in exports of premium rice. Sacramento Valley is one of only three microclimates in the world, including Japan and Australia, where the high-quality, small grain japonica rice flourishes. This rice perfectly complements Japanese dishes, particularly sushi, and has always sold well among the U.S.’s Asian population. Only recently, however, did the opening of export markets allow Californian growers to establish trade deals with Japan, one of the world’s largest rice-consuming markets. The result has been the creation of a flourishing, $500 million industry. Entering the competitive Japanese rice market has also forced rice growers to "evaluate rice quality by a world-class standard," says one rice farmer representative. "As a result, all of our rice is better – the rice we send to Kellogg's, the rice we send to breweries. The entire industry bumped itself up a notch." – YaleGlobal

Sushi Rice, California's New Gold Rush

Kay Rentschler
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

© 2003 The New York Times Company.

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