September is National Rice Month and we Arkansan’s have reason to celebrate. Arkansas ranks 1st in the nation in rice production, producing close to 50 percent of the nation’s rice. Arkansas’ rice industry supports 2,500 rice farms, employs more than 35,000 Arkansans and contributes over $4 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Rice is a pantry staple in most homes for a reason – it’s so versatile you could have it at every meal cooked up in completely different ways. You can keep it plain and add some sauce on top, mix in ingredients to the cooked rice to kick up the flavor (oh yea, fried rice!), or since rice soaks up flavors as it cooks, you can infuse it with spices while it cooks. Still need other reasons to cook up some rice tonight? Rice is low in calories, with almost no fat and it’s both cholesterol-free and sodium-free (gluten-free, too). Break out a bag of rice – it’s time to get cooking.
Watch as Jenna Martin, Miss Arkansas Rice 2013-14 and daughter of Riceland farmer-owner Dennis Martin, shows you how to cook the “perfect pan of rice” and shares some health information about rice.
The goal of the Miss Arkansas Rice program is to encourage youth interest in rice promotion and to publicize the importance of the Arkansas rice industry to the state’s economy. Contestants are judged on their promotion activities, knowledge of the rice industry and rice-cooking skills.
The Arkansas Rice Council sponsors the annual contest in cooperation with Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Full steam ahead,
The Park Wife