A disappointing harvest for one of fall’s traditional favorites. Northern Wisconsin’s wild rice harvesters are facing poor prospects gathering that traditional food this year. Peter David with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission says the problem is the same one that’s affected a lot of peoples’ gardens this year: too much rain. Some of the rice that is being harvested suffers from brown spot disease, but is still safe to consume.
This year’s disappointing harvest comes on the heels of last year’s record breaking crop. “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the harvest this year ended up being a quarter to a third of what we had a year ago,” says David. While many tribal and non-tribal rice harvesters gather for their own consumption, there is retail sale of Wisconsin gathered rice, and David says the disappointing harvest is bound to effect prices for that, as well as for the commercially grown variety.