The University of South Carolina Press is preparing for publication later this year a landmark study of the mechanisms and processes needed to make Carolina Gold rice ready for the market. Composed by Carolina Gold Rice Foundation (CGRF) board member, Dr. Richard Porcher, The Market Preparation of Carolina Rice chronicles the development of the technology and milling know-how needed to establish the rice as a world brand during the 19th century. A paragraph from the Preface suggests the distinctive contribution that Porcher has made to the understanding of southern food culture.
“The Old South was generally reckoned to have been a technological backwater, with only four areas of mechanical production worth mentioning: sugar production, iron working, ship building, and rice milling. Even in these circumscribed areas, commentators have reckoned that the South, with the noteworthy exception of devising submersibles, was never an innovator in the creation of the means of production or products. Richard Porcher’s The Market Preparation of Carolina Rice dismantles this perception forcefully and definitively, showing that in the invention of devices to harvest, thresh, mill, and polish Carolina Rice, persons in South Carolina and Georgia restlessly worked at creating and refining mechanisms that could insure that the Lowcountry could supply the world with superlative rice. In rice milling technology South Carolina was during the antebellum era the world leader in innovation. No treatment of Southern technological production in any area has chronicled developments with the care, attention to mechanical detail, and illustrative clarity of this book. Because Carolina rice was a staple grain of the American larder, and because Carolina Gold Rice was reputed to be one of the great rices in world trade, Porcher’s study has importance in the area of food studies as well as the histories of technology and trade.”
Lavishly illustrated with schematic drawings by William Judd and a trove of historic images, Porcher’s book materializes the lost world of plantation factories that stretched from the Cape Fear River in the north to Cumberland Island, Georgia, in the south.