Local Growing Rice

We are truly grateful what we experienced at Ever-Growing Family Farm. The farm cultivates many different type of rice, Japanese (Akitakomachi and Koshihikari ), Russian (Duborskian), Italian (Nano) and African rice. What a humble to learn with rice farmer Badjie and his three sons, and also they taught us wonderful hospitality. We appreciate a bowl of cooked rice more and more.

Polyculture in rice growing

Polyculture is a type of agriculture that uses multiple crops in the same space, providing crop diversity in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems;  avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture.

Many rice growers in Asia grew rice in the early spring when the fields along the valley bottom were still flooded from the spring rain. The water helped control the weeds.  Over the years they  learned to create a complex polyculture with soybeans growing around the fields, fish in the fields as a sort of aquaculture and duck and geese eating weeds and insects before the fields were flooded.

This ecological science design of polyculture gives us an opportunity to use these diverse techniques and incorporate them into a new  adaptable way for us to inhabit the healthy Earth.

Reticulated Sea

By  Davide Mantovani

Photo by  Davide Mantovani

Photo by Davide Mantovani

During the past few weeks, Venice has been sowing one of its main crops, rice. But now the planting has slowed, and the land has been flooded with water. The image above is a “reticulated sea”, as the rows of rice can be seen below the water.

The North of Italy, in the region called Veneto, rice cultivation was introduced in early 16th century by the Venetians. Because the rice crop has been sown for over 500 years, rituals and traditions of the rice culture here have a strong connection with the local Venetians. They were people dedicated to maritime commerce, but rice was also a major staple. The northern mainlands under the control of the Venetians have crops thanks to the ancient and extensively organized irrigation system, which is still on record in the archives of Venice.

Today the seeding happens by tractor, guided by satellite GPS. Under the funnel, the brown seeds are spread by a rotor that spins them around. This process takes place on a dry paddy field and when it is finished the rice field is immediately flooded to prevent flocks of birds from eating the freshly planted seeds. To prevent the rice from floating, the rice is pre-soaked in large tanks the day before planting occurs.

Modern tractors are still modeled on the ancient technique, when the rice was spread by the masterly hand of the “Risar” seed planter.

The Risar was a man of knowledge and experience because the best crop was dependent on his good work. On his left arm he kept rice seeds, and with his right hand he spread seeds every one or two steps with an arched motion.

In past they usually sowed in the flooded paddy.  The water let them control how well the paddy was smoothed. To see where the arch of seed had landed, two men called “spie” (literally “spies”) accompanied the Risar with long sticks so he could see where the last seeds had been spread. In this way, as they do now with GPS, it was ensured that the seeds were not wasted, and parts of the field were not left uncultivated.

Melotti Farm, Verona, Italy

Melotti Farm, Verona, Italy

The first day of sowing, the 25th of April, is dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist, the Patron Saint of Venice. This day ensures good luck for the harvest. The Regent, or chief magistrate of the city of Venice, is also given a traditional Venetian dish; risotto I piselli or rice with peas. The dish is made with the rice of the lowlands and the peas of the hills. Of course, it is probably also combined with a good glass of wine.

Ginseng root farm

Ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius) is any one of the 11 species of slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots growing in a woodland, cool climate. Wild ginseng roots sell for up to $500 or $600 per pound in the market. Older ginseng is the most valuable, and one of the most valuable plants in the world.

Commercial cultivation of ginseng has expanded in Korea and China due to huge demand.  Ginseng agriculture is a sustainable practice which uses rice straw. The ginseng is directly seeded and covered with rice straw to protect the seedlings and small roots during the cold winter. The rice straw also acts as a screen from direct sunlight.  As the rice straw decomposes and becomes compost, it helps the roots get healthy and strong. Farmer installing rice straw as a screen.

 

Photo: sfgate.com

Photo: sfgate.com

 

 


 

 

 

Rice husk coal

Photo: www.aso.ne.jp

Photo: www.aso.ne.jp

Rice husk coal or carbonized rice husk, (Khuntan燻炭 / Ibushisumi) is a excellent soil improvement material. It improves drainage, allows the soil to breathe, and is the habitat of microorganisms that also improve the soil. Rice husk coal has an alkaline pH of 8-9, that when added to  acidic soil, helps to enhance the disease resistance of vegetables. The lightweight coal can easily be added to potting mixes or used alone as a cover crop to prevent weeds.

*tomononekko.blog - DIY Khuntan. Guide to making Rice husk coal.

 

New Crop

The name ''new crop,'' refers to short grain rice that is milled and cooked within two months of its harvest. The taste of new crop short grain rice is cleaner and has a  sweeter flavor. It also  tends to be stickier because the rice grains have retained some moisture. The taste and texture of new crop rice is ideal when served alone.

Old crop rice tends to be less sticky because it contains less moisture. It is ideal for dishes like fried rice or curry rice. Interestingly,  most sushi restaurants in Japan use old crop rice because as it loses moisture it develops small hairline surface cracks which permit  vinegar to be absorbed better.

Most rice in the United States is harvested and run over a high-heat drying table, a process that converts the kernels to mature, aged rice without any remaining new crop quality.

In contrast to short grain rice, premium long-grain Basmati rice is aged 12 to 18 months to intensify its aromatic properties.  This rice complements  the heat, spice and complexity of Indian food.