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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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