Centuries ago, the Cahokia Indian Tribes made their home in what is now Illinois, forming what would grow to be the largest human settlement in North America prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Alongside the Mississippi River, the Cahokia lived in harmony with the land, growing maize in rich soil. They were the original grain farmers of the Midwest.
Hundreds of years later, the Gerard family settled on the same land once farmed by the Cahokia. They, too, recognized the potential of the fertile Illinois soil on the banks of the Mississippi, and
their farm flourished there for four generations. In 1990, descendant Blake Gerard returned to the land seeking to revitalize this multi-generational farming operation.
Today, Blake continues to carry on his family’s legacy. A recognized pioneer in the rice industry, his work is never done. Blake’s passion for farming paired with his intimate understanding of the rice market allow him a unique perspective on producing the highest quality rice without sacrificing the unique characteristics that set family-owned and operated farms like his apart. He is constantly looking to improve his methods and to better his product, a commitment we all share here at Cahokia Rice.
A Return to Sustainability
The Cahokia were the first sustainable farmers, and our business represents a return to these same sustainable practices. We utilize environmentally friendly practices, growing our rice without the use of GMO’s and minimizing the amount of water and fertilizer we add to our product while still maintaining a healthy crop.
A few factors allow this. One is our proximity to the mighty Mississippi River, a mere walking distance from our farm and a natural and efficient irrigator of our nutrient-rich soil. Another factor is our implementation of best-in-class soil conservation practices. Each year, we take rice stalks from previous harvests and plow them back into the ground to serve as a natural fertilizer for our next crop. This prevents harmful soil erosion, guaranteeing the natural fertility of our land for years to come. Through these techniques, Cahokia Rice reduces our environmental footprint with the added bonus of reducing our prices for our customers.
We mill and package our crop in small batches to maximize taste and nutrition, harvesting the grains when they contain peak protein content. We guarantee that each package of Cahokia Rice meets these standards of quality that we hold ourselves to.
At Cahokia we are committed to providing fresh, locally grown rice to the southern Illinois community and beyond. Our proximity the cities of Chicago and St. Louis allows us to be a truly authentic farm to table provider. Cahokia Rice uses tried and true farming techniques as well as new, sustainable approaches to offer a product with both distinct flavor and an abundance of natural proteins.