Venture into the Lowcountry’s past with the annual Rice Harvest at Middleton Place. As a period-costumed interpreter takes you on a picturesque tour, learn about traditional rice farming and watch a hands-on demonstration of how Carolina Gold rice was harvested at plantations throughout the area.
Before 2001, rice hadn’t been grown at Middleton Place for nearly 130 years. Then, when the dike separating the unusable rice field along the Ashley River began to fail, a crane was brought in to make repairs. While the crane was on site, staff at Middleton requested that workers section off a quarter-acre of the space as a demonstration rice field. Here, the first Carolina Gold was planted in May 2001, and they’ve been planting rice, as well as indigo, cotton, tobacco, and garden vegetables, ever since.
“The harvest is a chance for visitors to witness agricultural history in action,” says Warren Cobb, director of marketing at the historic plantation. “This kind of work would have been done by slave labor for about 125 years of Middleton Place’s history. Our interpretive staff uses the same methods and implements to plant the Carolina Gold crop as slaves would have in the 18th and 19th centuries.”
At this annual event, learn about the labor-intensive process of growing rice, from planting to harvesting to preparing it for a meal, and celebrate the hard work that goes into preserving Charleston’s unique history.
Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Rd. Saturday, 9am-5pm. $25; $10 child ages six-13. (843)556-6020, www.middletonplace.org