Longmen and Long Grain

During my visit to China I had the pleasure of staying on a small organic farm in the ancient town of Longmen. I am sure none of you know where this is. Arriving in Shanghai, I took a bullet train for about and hour and a half to the town of Hanzhou. From this town I took a cross-city bus and a small commuter bus to the town of Longmen.( I have a whole other story to tell about THIS voyage). My entire visit my brain kept making comparisons to Sutter Creek, but with less shopping. It had all the charm of the history the town carried, with lots of delicious food and farming outside of the town’s limits.

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The center of Longmen ancient town. You can see a group of school children on a field trip if you look closely.

The rice had just been harvested when I arrived, and I was thrown into the drying and sifting process right away. Each morning we woke up with the sun to spread the rice out on large tarps along the driveway. This rice was still very hard and in its hull. We used large wooden rakes to spread the (very heavy) grains out on the traps to dry while the sun was out.

Every two or so hours we would go outside to “turn” the rice again, making sure it all got even opportunity to dry out so it would not mold after it was bagged. This was basically us getting our daily workout in, because it was pretty physical. Each tarp was almost as big as my parent’s living room (I’d guess and say 2 meters by 3 meters?) and took three people to carry when we moved them around!

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(some of) Our rice raked out in the sun

Each night, we would wrap everything back up and cover so the dew wouldn’t reverse all the work we had done.

After about a week of drying, we began to measure, weight and bag the rice to be sent off to the mill to remove the hulls. This process can be done by hand, but our farmer preferred to have it sent into the mill for a faster process.

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This woman came to the farm to hand sift the rice that had already fallen out of its hull. This saves a step in the process at the mill.

I really loved seeing this farming process and being a part of it (however small). When so much of the world eats rice, it is such an important job to have!

What is something you would like to see how it is made or grown?

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