Today, many cultures embrace the moist, sticky characteristics of California rice, including those in Asia, the Mediterranean and portions of the Middle East.
During the rush for gold, many farmers who came to seek their fortunes decided that the key to riches might be found in doing what they did back home — grow crops. With a state that swelled from 15,000 in 1848 to more than 560,000 in 1870, their reasoning proved strong. The surge of Asian immigrants also played a role. If there could be a way to provide the staple of their diet — rice — it could solve the problem and expense of having the grain shipped from China or Japan.
It took decades for growers to learn the best location to grow rice in California and the best variety of rice to grow in the state. They learned that the warm days and cool nights in the Sacramento Valley would best grow the Japonica variety rice. Commercial production began in Butte County in 1912.