Lotus Foods has become famous for their "Rice is life". It is not just your average white rice, the staple has been taught in many parts of the world to produce the healthiest. Caryl Levine and Ken Lee are the owners of this amazing company that started when they tasted a black rice in China now referred to as Forbidden Rice. That was back in 1995. After marketing the various rices they came up with a newer product - ramen noodles made from rice and other healthy grains. Then came the packet of noodles along with the miso soup. A bowl of the soup could sustain a meal and even better by adding some extra veggies or a few ounces of protein. There most recent is the rice crackers, a snack food.
“Water smart and women strong way of growing rice” is their goal. “Almost 4 billion people eat rice daily to survive,” Caryl said. “Yet, growing rice uses more fresh water than any human activity. If we’re going to grow and eat that much rice around the world, we’re going to have to grow it more sustainably. We have been teaching farmers how to grow using 50% less water, 50% less seed and without chemicals. The result is that they are getting double and triple the yield.”
In 2005 Cornell University contacted both Caryl and Ken and introduced them to farmers who use the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI versus the conventional ort. "In conventional farming the fields are flooded and the seeds are 30-40 days old,” Caryl tells us. “While in SRI farming the fields are kept moist like watering a garden and taking water on and off. The seeds in comparison are only about 8-10 days old. These younger seeds are very small and they are planted farther apart from each other. This allows the plant to produce more photosynthesis allowing stronger root growth. When roots grow stronger there is more organic matter in the soil allowing plenty of rice kernels to grow. Lotus Foods wants to support farmers who use the SRI and there is a chance we can change the world by the way we do business. How many companies can do that?”
There are so many different kinds of rice that the consumer does not know of and Caryl is out there doing the marketing. What are some of the rice?
Bhutanese Red Rice has more potassium than Gatorade, and a significant amount of magnesium that has a complex, nutty, earthy flavor, soft texture and beautiful russet color.
Forbidden Rice increased health and longevity. “Legend tells us that this ancient grain was once eaten exclusively by the Emperors of China. Our most popular rice is fabled to enrich health and ensure longevity. This medium-size heirloom rice is treasured for its delicious roasted nutty taste, soft texture and beautiful deep purple color.” I got this from the website.
Volcano Rice is a mineral packed blend of traditional aromatic West Java rices grown on volcanic soils rich in magnesium, manganese and zinc – essential minerals so often lacking in modern diets. A colorful blend of nutrient-dense Sintanur brown rice and, whole grain red rice and lightly milled red rice that is reputed to restore vitality.
Organic Jade Pearl Rice. The oldest living peoples of the world eat a staple of rice mixed with a unique, edible species of Bamboo leaf and stem for its good nutritional profile. They consider this warm mountain-grown bamboo the true tree of life.
When cooked, this beautiful jade-colored rice produces the aroma of a bamboo forest, a light vanilla taste, and an explosion of health-giving nutrients.
Grab a rice bowl, heat it up and add whatever you desire as the rice is already cooked. It’s a large portion. I have been adding pieces of cooked meat, vegetables and soup stocks for Pacific Foods. For breakfast I add two eggs as I heat it up.
I’ve never been too fond of ramen noodles until now. They have two types one of which is simply a pack of 4 “cakes”. You would never know that they are made from rice. I cook the noodles while pan frying a protein with a few veggies (and a Pacific Foods soup stock). After draining, I add the noodles to the pan and stir.
The second type has single packs that include the powdered soup that contains herbs, spices, and one that even has seaweed. Great to add to a meal or just have the soup as a snack.
Speaking of snacks…their rice crackers are delicious and nutritious. Organic rice, baked rather than fried. No artificial flavors or colors. Three kinds: Shoyu Arari, the least “spicy”; Sweet and Savory Thai Arari, still not spicy; and Sriracha Arara, just the name tells you! These are all great to add to a salad as croutons, make a trail mix, or even use as soup crackers.
Where can you buy Lotus Foods? I would imagine that for the best and freshest…go to their website of www.lotusfoods.com