Since 1957, Chieftain® Wild Rice has provided a distinctive, high quality wild rice to our customers. What began as a small operation out of a garage has flourished into one of the leading wild rice producers in the industry today!
Contributing to Chieftain’s® success is that we own the land, the rice fields, the processing plant, and the company. This means we have complete control over pricing and quality. Additionally, we are able to use environmentally friendly practices and strive towards sustainable farming. Our wild rice is grown on a family farm in Aitkin, Minnesota. Headquarters are based in Spooner, Wisconsin.
To reduce harm to the environment and costs to our customers, we use the minimal amount of fertilizer and pesticides necessary to grow and maintain a healthy crop. Working closely with the University of Minnesota, Chieftain® has helped develop shatter resistant plants through in–the-field hybridization (without genetic modification). This produces a natural evolution of the wild rice plant, which helps further sustainability and longevity as a species. We also rotate crops in the fields to increase soil fertility, planting seeds from our own existing paddies into fallow fields. Rice stalks from previous harvests are plowed back into the ground to help as a natural fertilizer.
The wild rice crop is ready for harvest each year around Labor Day. Each individual paddy (ranging from 40 to 60 acres each) from our 450 acres is drained and the harvest is completed using just two trucks and two combines. Back at the plant, the harvested kernels are laid out on tarmacs to cure. The curing process allows the rice hulls to begin breaking away from the kernel.
After curing, the rice is processed in small batches. Our unique processing methods are what ensure that Chieftain’s wild rice is a one-of-a-kind value. Kernels are sorted by size so they cook uniformly and provide consistent plate presentation. Scarification (scratching the outer germ and bran layer) gives the rice an exceptionally high yield—4 to 4 ½ cups of cooked rice per 1 cup dry. Dry Roasting is a centuries old processing method that produces a rich, distinct flavor. Instead of parboiling the rice, which adds moisture and can result in a musty flavor, Dry Roasting reduces the water left in the kernel. As a result, from our farm to your kitchen, you are guaranteed a natural, flavorful wild rice.
At our headquarters in Spooner, Wisconsin, our wild rice is blended and packaged. With approximately 20 employees; Chieftain® prides itself in offering a work environment that supports flexible schedules for families with children or other outside interests. All of our Sales Representatives are trained to offer you the highest quality product knowledge and customer service. We offer a comprehensive, consultative approach to determining your needs and finding the most suitable product for you and your business.