By Jenice Johnson, marketing manager
For Greg Bellanger, what makes wild rice special is the effort that goes into harvesting it. Just take a look at any videos online that feature "ricing" and you can see the exertion that goes into gathering this aquatic grass seed from its watery habitat. Typically, two people venture out in a canoe among rivers and lakes with one person standing with a pole with a duckbill on the end to pull through the tall stalks of grasses. The other person takes two sticks to beat the rice off the stalks and the mature grains fall into the canoe. "It's amazing food -- it takes a lot of work to get to it and, because of that, the benefits from it are so great," Bellanger said. Bellanger is store manager of Northland Visions, a Tanka retailer in the heart of the Ojibwe community on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis, MN. He has a strong passion for wild rice. Manoomin is the Ojibwe word for wild rice, which means "the good berry" and is a key ingredient in Tanka Wild snack sticks. "The Ojibwe originally came from the east coast and migrated west before the first settlers came," he said. "The elders had a vision that they needed to move west until they found 'the food that grows on the water.' From Minnesota to Canada, no matter how you travel from north of the Great Lakes or south, you will run into wild rice."