Friday, August 29, 2008

Slow Food Nation

Today was Day 1 of Slow Food Nation in San Francisco, and what a busy day it was! I had lots of great conversations with interested people, and reconnected with people that I haven't seen in a while. We served a sample of Brown Rice Peach Crisp, which everyone loved! Come early Saturday if you want a shot at tasting it before we run out. If you miss out, not to fear, because you can make it at home--the recipe is below.

Come visit with us--we're booth number 6 in the marketplace at the SF Civic Center.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Post on

I finally got around to writing another post for in preparation for Slow Food Nation this weekend in San Francisco. Here it is below, and here's a link to their site.

A Sense of Place

We’re rice farmers, and as I mentioned in my last post here on Culinate, we’re unusual among rice farmers in that we direct-market our organic brown rice at farmers’ markets. We’re up to nine farmers’ markets a week now, and this week, we’ll also be selling rice in the Marketplace at Slow Food Nation in San Francisco.

The rice we grow is called Calrose, a high-quality, medium-grain rice unique to California. It’s the variety that grows best in our soil and climate. But it’s also the most common variety grown in California. So what qualifies our farm for recognition at Slow Food Nation?

Quite simply, we do a better job of growing tasty rice than others do.

The biggest difference between our rice and others you may have tried is the taste. Many of our first-time customers are surprised simply to discover that rice has any flavor at all!

The key is that we let our rice fully mature on the plant, which leads to a more complex flavor. It’s nutty but sweet, able to stand up to the most flavorful dishes on your plate or even to become the centerpiece of a meal.

People often ask if we grow jasmine or basmati rice, both aromatic long-grain rices. The answer is that we could grow them, and many in California do. But the jasmine we would grow would be inferior to our Calrose, and bear little resemblance to the jasmine that comes from Thailand, where the variety originated.

Jasmine rice responds best to the climate, soil, and farming methods of Thailand, where it attains its full flavor and aroma.

Another reason for us to not grow jasmine is that that variety was developed through the efforts of many successive generations of Thai farmers. Jasmine is their genetic heritage, and growing it in California feels wrong — like stealing something precious.

Visiting with Thai rice farmers, as well as hosting them on our farm, convinced us that we should stick with what we do well, and let them do what they do well.

This is another of Slow Food’s principles: Food has a story, which should not be taken out of context.

If you’ll be in San Francisco this Labor Day weekend, come see our booth at the Civic Center. I’ll be there all day on Friday, and helping out the rest of the weekend.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Brown rice peach crisp

Today's sample dish at the Chico Farmers Market was a big hit!


• 2 Cups cooked Massa Organics Brown Rice
• 2 Cups fresh peach (sliced)
• ½ Cup brown sugar (divided)
• 1 tsp. fresh ginger (grated)
• ½ c. whole wheat or regular flour
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp. cloves
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

1. Combine rice, peaches and ¼ c. brown sugar and ginger.
2. Pour into a 9x9 buttered pan
3. Combine flour, remaining ¼ c. brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
4. Cut in butter.
5. Sprinkle mixture over rice
6. Sprinkle nuts on top
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Friday, August 1, 2008

Almond Harvest has begun!

A few years ago, rice prices were extremely low, and we decided we needed to diversify our crops and marketing. That led to planting 30 acres of organic almonds, as well as direct marketing our rice. Four years after planting, we're harvesting our first crop of almonds! Our trees are small, so we're hand harvesting by knocking the nuts off of the trees onto tarps. The nuts are loaded into a cart and then spread out at the edge of the field to dry in the sun for about 10 days. The next step is to take them to a processor that will remove the hull and shell. The photos below show the kids out there doing the jobs, but in reality we had a very hard working crew do most of it!

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