FARGO — The Fargo Moorhead area rice supply shows seeds of strain.

While it’s possible to pick up bags of the staple, even the highly in-demand jasmine variety, at multiple stores, shelves of bagged rice are looking picked over in some of the major outlets.

Boxes of the instant kind don't seem to be suffering from any shortages.

A neon green sign at the entrance of Lotus Blossom Ethnic Asian Grocery, 2750 Main Ave., bears a straight-forward warning: “WE WILL NOT BE REFUNDING ANY RICE THAT HAS BEEN PURCHASED.”

The neon warning at Lotus Blossom, 2750 Main Ave., Fargo. Ryan Stotts / The Forum
The neon warning at Lotus Blossom, 2750 Main Ave., Fargo. Ryan Stotts / The Forum

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Manager Kina Wong said they’re afraid people will overstock, then attempt to return product.

“We don’t know when this thing is going to be over,” Wong said.

She said they had a truck-full of parboiled rice, in 100, 50, and 25-pound bags, but it was completely sold out by March 7.

“But, we’re running out of all kinds of rice,” Wong said. “We’ve been limited from the last two weeks.”

That’s tough, Wong said, because it isn’t just individual customers who want it, but also restaurants.

“We have to limit them,” she said.

Hornbacher’s and Aldi, both 13th Avenue locations, had a decent supply of rice on hand, as did nearby Target, although some of the shelves had bare spots and a rifled look.

International Grocery & Halal, 2512 7th Ave. S., has plenty of rice in stock, and FM International Foods, 1402 Main Ave., has some, too. Both reported brisk sales.

It’s becoming all-too common for shoppers to see signage warning of limited-quantity buys on items such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant, and it could be that toilet paper and rice are not too far behind.