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Rice and updates

May 23, 2014


I am sure most of you know that Arkansas is the #1 Rice producing state, growing 48% of the rice produced in the US on 1.3 million acres in Arkansas. It is big business in our state.  Not only do we like supporting local businesses, we like eating locally grown food.  Arkansas County (Stuttgart & DeWitt) is the leading county producer of rice. I was three yesterday, and the fields are growing, the crop dusters were spraying and tractors were running in fields I drove by all day.  arkansas rice fieldFarming is hard work, but aren’t we glad they do it.  rice plants


Riceland Rice is headquartered in Stuttgart, and they are always a willing sponsor and contributor of Arkansas events, including our MG program.






We have used many bags of rice in goody bags statewide, and also on our Alaska cruise last year, but there are others out there.  This year my boss got a 1000 pound bag of premium aromatic rice to use for an event.  Today we had a group of volunteers in to help us bag and label the rice to use at our MG State MG Conference. Instead of receiving a plant when you turn in you evaluation this year, you will get a bag of premium rice and a MG 2014 calendar.  The company who produced this rice was Earth Sprung Grain out of Pocahontas, Arkansas.  I googled them and they are doing way more than just premium rice. Locally grown, globally conscious is their slogan.  Supposedly they are also growing brown rice and quinoa (one of my favorites).  I have never seen that grown, so I may need to do a road trip!  They are a vendor at the Memphis Farmers Market, and I hear a lot of good things about them.  This rice smelled great in the 1000 pound bag, so imagine what it will taste like cooked!  MG’s who are attending our conference will need to report back on what they think after they eat it.  We had great help today and had it labeled, bagged and boxed in record time.

The rest of the day flew by trying to get everything done for the state conference.  There is not enough time in the day.  Thanks for all the comments on the photos. Most like the new format, but a few really don’t like it.  We are working to try to get this right so everyone can see things and know what is what.  It seems like just when I get it right, the app changes and we start over!

Here are the answers to your mystery plant challenges for the week:

Mystery plant A –

this is an old fashioned perennial commonly called Rose Campion or Lychnis coronaria.  It has silvery white foliage and the traditional flower color is the magenta bloom in the first photo.  There are also white ones and this lovely rose colored one which fades to a lighter pink with age.  It is a pass-along plant, most commonly found in MG plant sales or you get it from a friend. It will grow in full sun to partial shade and once you have it, you have it for life.  It can reseed itself, but is not invasive.

Mystery plant B –

This evergreen groundcover is commonly called Strawberry Geranium or Strawberry Begonia –  Saxifraga stolonifera.  It thrives in the shade and gets it’s common names from the fact that it runs like a strawberry creating the stolons that form new plants and the leaves have begonia/geranium-like qualities.  But it is neither a begonia nor a geranium. It is an evergreen, stoloniferous, mat-forming perennial of the saxifrage family that is native to rocky cliff areas in China and Japan.  It blooms for about 2-4 weeks in late spring.

Mystery plant C ( and bonus insect).

Papaver nudicaule (pah-PAH-ver new-dee-KAW-lee) is commonly called the Iceland poppy, or often labeled as just a poppy.  While it is a short lived perennial in northern climates, I use it every year as a cool season annual to give me an extra boost of color in late winter or early spring.  Common colors are yellow, orange and salmons.  It has lasted much longer this season than most years with our unusual weather, and I am still getting blooms on it now.

The insect is not a honeybee, which many of you guessed, and definitely is a look alike.  But it is a hover fly. If you saw it in person, you would have had a better chance. Instead of hovering–like a honeybee (I think their names are a bit confusing) and floating between flowers, the hover fly flits in and out quite quickly.  It also has much shorter antenae.  And if you want to get technical, bees have two sets of wings, while flies only have one, but who gets that close and personal?

Great job gardeners and have a great holiday weekend!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharon Berdine permalink
    May 23, 2014 9:30 pm

    Have had a bag of quinoa since you showed your “bars” from a party months ago. Thought I would find a recipe on line that looked a good as yours did. Haven’t, so haven’t fixed it yet. Do you share recipes or advice on how I should prepare it and where to look ( a specific site). I am really anxious to try it, but don’t have a clue how. Recipes on line look dull. Really just love your blog every day and look forward to what comes next. So looking forward to next week. Thanks, Janet, for all you do and your very difficult schedule for all of us MG’s. Love you!!

    • uamg permalink
      May 24, 2014 10:41 am

      I really didn’t use a recipe. I sauteed vegetables I had on hand and then stirred in the quinoa with chicken stock and let it all mix together. I often use sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms, olives and squash. Fresh tomatoes diced up also add nice color. Quinoa is great. Leftovers are even good cold.

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