Brian Ward, vegetable specialist at Coastal Research and Education in Charleston, makes measurements in rice field.

Clemson vegetable specialist Brian Ward makes measurements in rice research field.

CHARLESTON — Clemson University vegetable specialist Brian Ward has been elected to the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation board of directors.

The Carolina Gold Rice Foundation conducts sustainable historic rice field recovery and organic Carolina Gold Rice production research at Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, where Ward works.

“I am honored to be chosen,” Ward said. “The foundation has been a strong supporter of my work. I see myself working for South Carolina growers, testing ways to improve yield and plant health so that our farmers can succeed, as well as evaluate new crops to grow and sell.”

The Coastal Research and Education Center conducts applied research, education and public service programs on vegetables and specialty crops.

The center includes 325 acres in addition to laboratories in the Department of Agriculture U.S. Vegetable Laboratory building. The research focuses on developing sustainable, efficient and economical vegetable production, as well as conventional and organic pest management.

The center offers instruction and research experience to graduate students and opportunities for collaboration with scientists. The team consists of two horticulturists, a plant pathologist and an entomologist.

Carolina Gold, long-grain rice with a rich honey amber hull, was a culinary and economic standout of colonial and antebellum coastal communities in South Carolina and Georgia. The rice now is enjoying a revival, acclaimed by chefs, food historians and diners.

Carolina Gold rice was supplanted by new varieties and all but abandoned. In the mid 1980s, a Savannah plantation owner obtained Carolina Gold from a USDA seed bank and repatriated the rice to the coastal wetlands around Charleston.

Anson Mills, a specialty grains supplier in Columbia, began growing Carolina Gold rice sustainably in 1998 and today has organic Carolina Gold rice fields in Georgia, North and South Carolina and Texas.

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