Red Stone Rice LLC was founded by Michael Schläppi, a professor of biology at Marquette University. Funded by grants from Marquette University and the US Department of Agriculture, his research identified a high-yielding Southern Russian rice variety that could withstand the colder weather in Wisconsin. The first trial was grown on a rooftop garden at the university, and in 2017, one acre of rice paddies was established at the Mequon Nature Preserve. In partnership with the Fondy Food Center, Red Stone Rice is cultivated using sustainable organic practices without any input of agrochemicals by flooding the paddies with water from a nutrient rich pond. Red Stone Rice is thus locally sourced: grown, harvested, and packaged 20 minutes away from downtown Milwaukee!
This organic and minimally processed rice is Wisconsin’s first commercial rice crop. A second acre of rice paddies was established in 2019 with the idea to form partnerships with Fondy Food Center farmers interested in rice cultivation. We hope to encourage other farmers with wetlands to consider growing rice in Wisconsin, and to make Red Stone Rice LLC a cultural backdrop and center for education.