For years my close friends and associates have tolerated my rants about eating locally grown foods, understanding that it goes way beyond being trendy or simply supporting a local business. My occasional waxing prophetically about eating what is grown, caught and produced locally is about taste and taste alone.

Recently Pepper’s has committed to offering only Murray’s Chicken to our clients. Murray’s Farms are located in New York and Pennsylvania. Each farm is committed to not using growth hormones or any type of antibiotics. This great care makes Murray’s Chickens particularly moist, and they taste delicious.

So where am I going with this? What do Murray’s locally raised chickens and rice have in common?

Last evening my wife and I had a hankering for Asian food. We debated ordering sushi or getting takeout. But it was Monday, and fresh fish is generally not so fresh on Mondays. Okay, what next?

Cook at home of course!

A quick shopping trip brought some fresh petit Asian eggplant, lemongrass, bok choi, Chinese long beans, ginger, cilantro and a really good looking piece of D'artanian Smoked Duck.

We figured we would make some simple rice to go along with the dish that’s taking shape. Combing through the cupboards revealed that we were out of rice, with one exception. We had been saving a bag of rice that was given to us from a local woman from the rice terrace area of Longsheng, a region of China near Gullin.

There’s a long story behind how we came upon this modest ½ lb. bag of rice, but in the interest of brevity let me just share that the indigenous residents of this area have been growing rice pretty much the same way for thousands of years. The rice terraces are an unbelievable site to be seen.

We parceled out ¼ of our stash to have with our dinner. Wow! Neither of us could believe how wonderful rice could be.  This rice has not been genetically modified and absolutely reflects the local terroir of Longsheng.  It was creamy, alive with flavor and just a delight to eat. We kept the preparation quite simple. It was cooked gently in filtered water, and at the finish, we merely added a few dashes of sea salt and a handful of diced preserved lemon Susan had made.

This rice made for yet another convincing argument for eating locally grown foods; and it is especially gratifying to have met the grower.