Archive for the ‘event’ Category

By Nick Storrs

As our rice is entered its awkward adolescent stage, we went north to Putney, VT to attend the 4th annual Northeastern Rice Conference on August 3rd. We were greeted by a group of over a hundred northeastern rice growers, aspiring growers, and people interested in the development of a new crop in the region.   The Conference took place on the Akaogi Farm owned by Takeshi Akaogi and his wife Linda. Upon stepping out of the trees lining their fields we were shocked to discover the array of different varieties of rice in all their colors, 2013-08-03 08.59.14shapes, and sizes filling their rice paddies! So many were jaw-droppingly beautiful. Many of the varieties he was raising had already develop flowers and seed heads, a good month or two before ours does.  Later we learned all about the different varieties that are being imported from Northern Japan, a region with a much shorter growing season, and further work being done to adapt them to our region. We discovered how fortunate we are to have the long growing season her in New York City that affords us the opportunity to grow a longer season sushi rice like Koshihikari.

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As the conference proceeded we learned about the process of developing varieties for India, how to build small scale machinery to hull and thresh our rice, and we got to meet some new friends who we hope to keep in touch with.

We also became very interested in helping Cornell University conduct a study to understand the viability of different common types of rice grown here in the Northeast. Next year, along with many of the other farmers at the conference, we will all grow a mix of five different varieties and report back on how well they did, while recording some important information about how they grew. We are really looking forward to involving students and classrooms with this citizen science project and exposing them to real scientific research in action!

All in all we can back filled with ideas for our rice and bubbling over with enthusiasm. Thank you so much to the Akaogis for hosting us and everyone who help make the day possible. We can’t wait for next year!

Takeshi Akaogi offering a tour of his farm.   
Takeshi Akaogi offering a tour of his farm.

If you would like more information about this conference or rice being grown in the Northeast visit http://www.ricenortheasternus.org


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By Winnie L.

The warm weather has given the rice seeds that final little push to germinate just in time for our Rice Festival on June 5th.

Chefs Yoshi Kousaka and MiHyun Han from Manhattan restaurants; students from Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School; Koichi Ai, the Deputy Consul General of Japan,  Masakazu Kigure, the Cultural Attache to the Deputy Consul General and Midori Goto, Cultural Affairs Specialist of Japanese Consulate (who also joined us for the Cherry Blossom Festival) and our own horticulture crew made this another fantastic Rice Festival! 

First graders making rice balls

The students made onigiri (rice balls) with umeboshi (pickled plums), nori (dried seaweed) and katuobushi (a fish-based, dry seasoning) with the help of our chefs. The rice balls were made with the same variety of rice that we’re growing here at the farm. Koshihikari rice is a short grain Japanese rice that has a sticky texture and sweet taste.

Koshihikari rice and rice plants from last year's Randall's Island rice harvest
Koshihikari rice and our own rice from last year’s Randall’s Island harvest

The weather is getting perfect for growing rice so we flooded the rice paddies that volunteers built (rice loves water!) and the students helped put the rice seedlings into the soil. On this sunny day, 300 seedlings were put into the rice paddies by forty first-graders (since April, over 900 rice seeds have been planted by students from all over NYC!).

First graders transplanting rice
First graders transplanting rice
First graders transplanting rice
First graders transplanting rice

We look  forward to harvesting the rice this Fall!

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By EunYoung Sebazco

We received a letter from Mr. Koichi Ai is the Director, Japan Information Center & Deputy Consul-General in New York. We had an amazing first Cherry Blossom Festival along with the Consul-General of Japan in New York’s support. Now, he may join our rice festival!

Rice seeds are starting to sprout. We are planning to have the rice planting in the beginning of June. (Can’t wait!)

Japn Consul latter



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Our Good Friends

By EunYoung Sebazco

We have been gearing up for the new season with a lot of new activities. We are fortunate to have wonderful friends who support our exciting events throughout the season at Randall’s Island. I would like to introduce some of them now, but more to come… Stay tuned-

togei01   Lisa Nishimori is the owner of New York Togei Kyoshitsu ( www.nytogei.com ) She is donating recycled clay for our Seed Bomb project. Togei Kyoshitsu was established in 1994. They offer classes using traditional artistries that are still used in studios across Japan. Her generous support will help us make our wildflower meadow rush and a sustainable approach of wildflower meadow maintenance.

shino   Shino Takeda is a ceramic artist (www.shinotakeda.com) demonstrating how to make SAKURA NO HANA NO SHIOZUKE (cherry Blossom Salt: 桜の花の塩漬) during the Cherry Blossom festival at Randall’s Island. She will also share how to utilize cherry blossom salt. We are very excited to have her at our first Cherry Blossom Festival at Randall’s Island. She was a formal General Manager at Blue Ribbon restaurant group. Romy Northover is a English ceramic artist will also join our event. They started a ceramic project KATAKANA  NY 2012 which offers body adornments, homewear design, supper clubs and workshops.

IMG_20120618_115736   MiHyun Han is General Manager at Don’s Bogam (www.donsbogam.com), which is the finest Korean restaurant in New York.  She has been supporting our urban farm and we are happy to have her back this year. She will demonstrate Summer Roll making during one of our rice programs. She will use fresh vegetables from our urban farm and show us how the rice is used in other cultures. 

IMG_2055  Yoshihiko Kousaka is Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC  ( www.jewelbakonyc.com ), we are honored to have him back this season for our rice program. He will demonstrate how to make Onigiri (Riceball) and Oshinko (fresh pickled salad). He has exposed us to other food cultures and inspires us with his passion.

teaPlant   Tea Tree Farm (제주 넓은 농장) is located in Jeju Island in southern part of Korea. The farm is the one of few the organic green tea farms in Korean. It is very hard to harvest the tea tree seeds but we are lucky to have them. Thank you for sharing with us! We planted them early last spring with lots of excitement and they are 2”tall now! Due to the different climate, they have been growing very slowly. However, We are very proud of the challenge to grow the FIRST tea plants in NYC.

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