Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on October 27, 2011. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Mississippi rice farmers featured on Canadian TV
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Bolivar County rice-farming family spent a week with television producers showing viewers what it takes to get a rice dish from the farm to the table.
Diane and Marty Chenault of Chenault Farms in Beulah were recorded for an upcoming episode of Pitchin’ In with Chef Lynn Crawford, a Food Network Canada show. The episode featuring the Chenaults is all about rice, showing viewers how rice is produced and then served. Laura Giaccaglia, Mississippi State University Extension Service director for Bolivar County, and three other Bolivar County rice-farming women also cooked for the show.
“They call the show Pitchin’ In because wherever she goes, Chef Lynn Crawford works there to see how it’s all done, then she cooks something with that food item,” Diane said.
While in Bolivar County, Crawford rode on a combine, pulled rice levy gates out of the field, cleaned and stored them, and emptied a grain pit by hand under the supervision of 12-year-old Bryce Chenault.
“We were near the end of harvest when they came to do the recording, so we left two to three days of work for them to shoot,” Marty explained.
On the show’s website, Crawford is described as travelling “to far-flung locations, doing whatever it takes to get at the best, freshest ingredients in the world … Throughout her journey, she’ll take on any challenge, relying on locals to show her how it’s done.”
For the show, producers also shot extensive footage of the farm and Crawford working with Marty’s dad, H.M. Chenault, and his uncle, Norman Chenault. With just a few hired hands, the three men operate the entire 3,000-acre farm, consisting of about 900 acres of rice and 2,100 acres of soybeans.
“We don’t know really why they chose to use our farm, but I do know they were looking for farmers who still get out and do the actual farming instead of hiring crews to do all the work,” Marty said. “I’m not going to send someone out to do something I won’t do.”
After the outdoor shots were complete, the cameras moved indoors for some cooking. Diane explained that they asked her and a few others to cook a variety of rice dishes.
“They shot footage of me at my house cooking brown gravy and white sausage gravy to go on the rice,” Diane said. “I also made a hot chicken salad with rice.”
Giaccaglia said the Toronto-based company was not able to stay for the annual Delta Rice Promotions rice tasting luncheon in the area.
“We prepared dishes for them that we would be taking to the luncheon,” Giaccaglia said. “Chef Lynn selected which one she thought was the best.”
Giaccaglia made the winning dish for the unofficial contest, a stuffed squash with ground beef, rice, tomatoes and cheese sauce. The recipe earned her an interview for the show and an invitation to cook the next day when Crawford prepared a special rice dinner on-camera.
The Bolivar County Extension Office also got a turn in the spotlight. Crawford used its elevated, demonstration kitchen with its homey feel as the setting to cook her own rice dishes.
The rice episode is scheduled for the third season of Pitchin’ In. The show is currently in its first season, and the rights to the second season have been purchased. The show can be seen on the Food Network Canada.