Nibbles: Cordillera rice, Farmer seed, Toddy audio essay, Eat This Newsletter, Coconut conservation, Australian genebank, Sweet potato diversification, Mungbean income, NERICA impact, Bing cherry, TFP, Conservation evidence, NordGen matters

Nibbles: Garlic history, Collecting, GMO course, Rice genebank, Mango diversity, Chilli diversity, Virtual plant breeding, Navel orange, LA tree, Cotton sustainability, Saudi agritourism

Lost rice found, again

First there was Carolina Gold. Now there is “upland red bearded” or “Moruga Hill” rice.

Mr. Dennis had heard about hill rice…through the culinary organization Slow Food USA and the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, the group that brought back Carolina Gold in the early 2000s. He’d also heard stories about it from elderly cooks in his community. Like everyone else, he thought the hill rice of the African diaspora was lost forever.

But then, on a rainy morning in the Trinidad hills in December 2016, he walked past coconut trees and towering okra plants to the edge of a field with ripe stalks of rice, each grain covered in a reddish husk and sprouting spiky tufts.

“Here I am looking at this rice and I said: ‘Wow. Wait a minute. This is that rice that’s missing,’” he said.

It is hard to overstate how shocked the people who study rice were to learn that the long-lost American hill rice was alive and growing in the Caribbean. Horticulturists at the Smithsonian Institution want to grow it, rice geneticists at New York University are testing it and the United States Department of Agriculture is reviewing it. If all goes well, it may become a commercial crop in America, and a menu staple as diners develop a deeper appreciation for African-American food.

And no, they couldn’t have found it in genebanks. This is what Genesys knows from the region. Trinidad is shown by the yellow marker, rice accessions in red. No rice accessions in Genesys from anywhere near Trinidad, alas.

Someone should really have a systematic look at all those red dots, though.

Nibbles: MGIS, DOIs, Lost apples found, Row 7 Seeds, EBN, “Influential” seed people.

  • Banana people release new banana germplasm database, featuring DOIs.
  • Video explaining what DOIs are and why they’re cool.
  • Five apple varieties to get DOIs before it’s too late? Probably not.
  • “A seed company built by chefs and breeders striving to make ingredients taste better before they ever hit a plate.” Whatever next.
  • Occupy the food system.
  • Extension works. In a big way. With agronomy anyway. Think what it could do with seeds…

Nibbles: Wild wheat & rice genomes, Lost American crops, Bread Lab, Tea symposium, Burping cows, Australian botanist, Ecuadorian landrace pics, Red listing, Fermentation PhD, Cheese rind microbes, HRH reception