The Ratuskis stick to the principles their forefathers built the company on: trust, loyalty, and the promise of providing the highest quality wild rice. Their great grandfather recognized a unique opportunity in wild rice in 1935, and ever since then, every generation of their family has contributed to this vision. As soon as children were old enough to start helping out, they would work alongside their cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents to help with processing, roasting, and packing orders.
Shoal Lake Wild Rice is committed to ecological sustainability because they believe wild rice is a precious Canadian resource—with sole samples dating back thousands of years! Rather than using heavy machinery, they employ traditional agricultural methods, and also never use chemical inputs such as synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. They recognize Nature is a key player in their production as development of wild rice crops relies on the natural hydraulogy of the area. They believe in working with Nature as the harvest itself works to re-seed the next year’s harvest and benefits local wildlife, water fowl, and fish spawning. Because wild rice is a keystone species, those working with the crops are able to gauge the overall health of the ecosystem and ensure they are doing their best to conserve it.
As a company they are also dedicated to the economic sustainability of the northern communities they partner with. They have been able to provide an industry and jobs where not much else exists in the area, and value their relationships with local residents and First Nations groups. They have worked with locals for over 50 years—providing education on best practices and organic integrity—to secure certifications and manage crops to grow the wild rice industry. Through building these programs they hope to bring something to the table that is healthy, Canadian-grown, and exceptional in taste—all in a way that is sustainable for the Earth and for their community.
To learn more about their wild rice, visit the Shoal Lake Wild Rice website.