Heirloom Kokuho Rose® Rice

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Heirloom Kokuho Rose® Rice is not Generic, Commodity-grade Calrose - What makes Kokuho Rose special

Confusion exists regarding the differences between brands of rice that include the word “Rose.” Less savvy consumers sometimes mistakenly think Calrose is the same kind of rice as Kokuho Rose®.

After World War II, Cal Pearl, a short grain Japanese type rice, was the predominant variety grown in California.  Two plant breeders, Hughes Williams and Jenkin Jones, co-developed Calrose, a medium grain Japanese type rice, from the Cal Pearl variety. 

In the 1950s, we employed Hughes Williams to oversee our rice breeding program. Mr. Williams brought his Calrose seed to South Dos Palos and conducted extensive crossbreeding for varietal improvement. His most promising cross with a Middle Eastern variety tasted much better than Calrose and possessed other desirable traits.  Field yields and milling quality were high for that era. In ensuing years, this strain, known as KR55, was further perfected for our micro-climate and soil type through traditional selection.

Today, “Calrose” is a coined phrase for high yielding, bland tasting medium grain rice. Williams/Jones’ original Calrose was further developed (at the State rice research center in Biggs, CA.) primarily for higher yield with taste and quality as secondary considerations. Modern descendants have been packaged as “Calrose” since its initial introduction. While KR55 and Calrose do share a common ancestor, saying Kokuho Rose®, is a Calrose variety is like saying that a thoroughbred race horse and a donkey are the same thing. 

Our KR55 has been used in California rice breeding programs since the early 1960s. Upon the successful commercial introduction of Kokuho Rose®, the Koda family shared their seed with all the major rice breeding programs in California. Today, any medium grain Japanese type rice grown in California that calls itself “premium” has the KR55 strain in its lineage.  Examples of modern descendants are Nishiki brand produced by JFC and Tamaki’s Medium Grain Sushi Rice.

Kokuho Rose is now approximately fifty-eight years old.  The most highly regarded variety in Japan, Koshihikari (short grain) is of a similar age.  The other significant Japanese short grain variety, Akita Komachi (about thirty-eight years old), is an early maturing but lesser quality version of Koshihikari.   - KODA Farms

KODA Farms is the oldest family-owned Rice Farm and Mill in Califonia since the 1910s. More information: inquiry@kodafarms.com