Rain was in the forecast, and for once the weather man predictions were correct. It rained all morning, which provided the opportunity to catch up on house work. Well, we could stay inside only so long and decided to drive the short distance to New Iberia and visit Konriko Rice Mill, billed as the oldest working rice mill in America.
The mill was constructed in 1912 by Phillip Conrad to save costs of shipping rice up north to mill. The mill was sold in 1975 and the same family still runs it on a daily basis. The name Konriko is derived from the first three letters of Conrad's name but the C was changed to K thus Kon RI(ce)Ko( the first two letters of company with the C changed to K).
The building is three stories tall and the rice is milled, packaged and shipped from this small complex consisting of 20 employees. Rice is generally processed in the morning and the operations move over to a different building in the afternoon, where different products such as rice flour and crackers and other gluten free products are made. Most of the employees are charged with more than one job in this small factory. Our tour guide used to package rice but now works part time as a tour guide.
The is a mock up of the factory. It's hard to see, but the rice process starts on the third floor and works its way down to the first floor.
Rice is funneled into plastic sleeves and then heat sealed. The cat was pretty possessive of her territory and the center of attention. Everything in the factory is done by hand including hand stenciling of paper bags.
The mill is listed on the National Register of Historic places so if operations ever cease the building will be preserved. It will be 100 years old next year.
Every wonder what the difference is between white rice and brown rice. Brown rice still has some of the bran left on the kernels making it more healthy. White rice has all of the bran removed and thus not as healthy for us.
After a hard day of touring we all decided to go out to dinner at Mulate's, billed as the "Original Cajun Restaurant". Mulate's offers a good selection of crawfish, alligator dishes ..all Cajun style. Ymmmm.