Our Rices

We’re giving you a glimpse of the history, passion and science behind Charleston Gold Rice and the soon to debut Santee Gold Rice.

Charleston Gold Rice

“While rice growing in coastal South Carolina dates back to the days of the American Revolution, Charleston Gold Rice is a relative newcomer and a beloved addition to the culinary conversation.”

There is a saying “it takes a village” - that’s exactly what it took to create and bring into production the distinctive and delicious long grain rice that we now call Charleston Gold Rice. In 1998, Charleston, SC rice entomologist Dr. Merle Shepard of Clemson University, along with rice geneticist Dr. Gurdev Khush of the International Rice Institute in the Philippines, endeavored to breed a new rice variety that combined the flavor attributes of historic Carolina Gold with aromatics.

After years of employing traditional breeding methods, Khush and Shepard successfully created a uniquely aromatic and earthy long grain rice. Collaborating with Dr. Anna McClung, a rice geneticist at the USDA - ARS, Khush and Shepard were able to witness their new variety, Charleston Gold, come to fruition, when it became tested and celebrated within the culinary community. Charleston Gold received USDA approval and release in 2012.

Noting the distinct difference between heirloom variety Charleston Gold Rice and modern white rice, celebrated magazine Cook’s Country shared “Our winning white rice tasted ‘plain’ in comparison to Charleston Gold Rice. THE BOTTOM LINE: Carolina Gold and Charleston Gold heirloom rices have unique flavors and textures and cook at a similar rate to long-grain white rice. They’re both worth trying.” - Cook’s Country, Heirloom Rice, Oct/Nov 2016

For more history on Charleston Gold and Carolina Gold, visit The Carolina Gold Rice Foundation or enjoy this article Charleston Gold: A Direct Descendant of Carolina Gold by the Foundation’s Chairman of the Board David Shields.

Santee Gold Rice

“Santee Gold is named for South Carolina’s Santee River and the rice is a modern nod to the historic and gold medal winning Carolina Long Gold.”

At one time Carolina Long Gold Rice was one of the most sought after rice varieties. Known to be the most historic form of Carolina Gold Rice, Long Gold was the long-grain form of Carolina Gold.  

First discovered in Georgetown County, South Carolina, it garnered international recognition when the rice was awarded two gold medals at expositions in London and Paris in the 1850s. Countries near and far heralded the variety, and demand grew until the Civil War disrupted growing and eventually led to the seed’s extinction.

In 2008 Dr. Anna McClung, at the behest of heirloom crop pioneer Glenn Roberts of South Carolina, set out to renovate the long grain rice with a cross of Carolina Gold and Presidio, a long grain variety that provides excellent disease resistance and exceptional milling qualities. A fourteen year breeding process resulted in Santee Gold, and we are thrilled to begin planting our fields with this remarkable seed in spring of 2022 

For more history on Carolina Long Gold, visit The Carolina Gold Rice Foundation or enjoy this conversation between Foundation Chair David Shields and Dr. Anna McClung.