Welcome to the Massa Organics farm/family blog. This is our first attempt at blogging and I'm not sure how we'll do, but we've so enjoyed interacting with our customers so far in this new business, and we thought the blog might bring an additional opportunity to build on these relationships.
This is Raquel, the wife/mother/daughter-in-law of the operation. I grew up in LA and before I met Greg I wasn't aware that rice was actually grown in California. Honestly, when we first met in college, I wasn't all that impressed with that part of Greg's "background", it sounded pretty hokey. And I definitely thought farming a crop that had to be grown in flooded fields was ridiculous when we all know we're living in a desert. Wow, did I have a lot to learn. But six years later, when we decided to move "home" and farm, it was (surprisingly) my idea. And here we are, 17 years later, and Greg is a brilliant farmer, and Northern California is not a desert, and organic rice farming is a beautiful beautiful thing. We want to share it with you, and hope that none of your kids will grow up as ignorant as I did.
It's November 12th, and we have just finished harvesting the rice. The combines have not yet been put away, and so they provide ample play space. Even farm kids LOVE tractors, and after "chicken", "tractor" is one of their first words. In earlier generations it was pretty common to harvest late into the fall, but not for us due to shorter-season rice varieties and bigger harvesting equipment. But it has been a pretty wet, cold fall for us, so the rice took quite a while longer to ripen. After the crazy weather, and a number of mechanical setbacks, it was big relief to see that truck full of grain pull out of our driveway on to the highway.
We have a field of 40 more acres that is officially in transition to organic production. We left it fallow this summer, but it will have a winter wheat crop on it starting next week. Today we had guys in giant trucks out there spreading 100 tons of composted cow manure on it. This field is about 200 meters from our house. Sometimes our kids have to sit on the porch for a few minutes while they are having a "time out". Mit (above, swinging wildly) took a turn out there tonight, unfortunately, but tonight he had added incentive to shape up his behavior: "Dad it smells really gross!''.
Rice for dinner tonight, of course. We hadn't had it in a few days because I'd forgotten to cook it in time. That's a complaint we get a lot, that brown rice just takes too long. So, today at about noon I remembered to put on a pot and it was ready to go in plenty of time. We often cook it with just water, but tonight it was with broth and butter. (For those who don't like it too sticky, this is a good solution.) We hope you'll share some of your favorite ways to use our rice. If we can share them that will be even better.
We're happy to answer your burning rice farming questions, so fire away.