Koda Farms was established in California in 1928 by Keisaburo Koda, making it the oldest family-owned rice farm in the state. Koda was raised in central Japan in a family of rice growers and brokers, and he immigrated to the US in 1908—a time when the US wasn't totally welcoming to Japanese immigrants. When the 1913 Alien Act made it impossible for immigrants to own land, Koda found a way around that by setting up the deed to his farmland in the name of his American-born sons. Some years into the farm's story, when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese Americans, Koda and his family were forced to relocate. When they returned to the farm three years later, they found most of the land and equipment had been sold off.
That would be enough to discourage most of us—but the Kodas persisted. In the 1950s, they started work to introduce a brand new Japanese-style rice variety to the US, to resemble the creamy sushi rices of Japan. After a few years, they settled on Kokuho Rose. It's a medium grain rice. The flavor is delicate, lightly sweet. The brown rice has a gentleness that's really pleasant, and quite a change from some brown rices that can end up tasting grassy or, worse, cardboardy. But the astounding thing about this rice isn't the flavor—it is its texture. The white rice in particular is incredibly creamy.
More than half a century later, siblings Robin and Ross Koda continue their grandfather's legacy, continuing to grow Kokohu Rose. As Robin explains it, “by contemporary standards, our rice is considered impractical to farm, given its long maturity and low yield... our stubborn commitment to our Kokuho Rose doesn’t make cents and dollars, but is an emotional legacy.”
Eating it with some stir fried meats and veggies, the rice doesn’t disappear in the background—that creamy texture amplifies the dish and adds complexity. The white rice is also an outstanding choice for sushi.