You may remember our previous post about The Maine Rice Project. Their goal is to get as many farmers and folks as possible eating and growing rice throughout Maine, the Maritimes, and the Northeast. They recently received a grant from Maine Technology Institute to expand their rice growing operation and are looking for help finding new sites to expand to.
For the past five years the project has been based out of Wild Folk Farm in Benton. During that time the Ben and Asher have successfully shown that rice can be grown in Maine, and that there is a market for it. They have expanded from one small experimental rice paddy, to 2/3 of an acre in rice paddy cultivation, producing 3,000 pounds of rice annually and have learned a lot along the way. Right now demand for their rice is surpassing what they can supply at our farm (how awesome is that!).
This summer the search is on for new locations in the state of Maine on which to build a bigger, better rice paddy system. They are looking to partner with existing farms interested in incorporating rice paddies into their farm operations and/or leasing land to grow rice. The rice paddy system they are planning to build will be in the range of 1-4 acres, and site work is expected to begin spring of 2019.
Paddy systems will be built and designed based on individual site characteristics, working with farm owners to ensure designs integrate well into their current operations. One of the advantages of growing rice in Maine is that rice paddies work best in poorly drained, clay rich soil which do not typically suit growing vegetables and other crops. There is plenty of this kind of soil in Maine.
A good rice paddy site will need to have the following basic characteristics:
1) Clay Soil
2) Uphill pond with good capacity, or place to dig one
3) slight slope for water management
4) Zone 4b or warmer
For more information visit: wildfolkfarm.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org