The Rice of Local and Organic Grains at Zen Farm

January 23rd, 2014 | Posted by greg in Daily life...

The team at Zen Organic Farm must be doing something right as I keep being amazed at every visit.

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I can’t put myself together to organize birthday gathering for our son in some function rooms with a sad clown, a jumping castle, balloons and the odd HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign on the wall (in case people didn’t know it was a birthday). Instead, we booked a space at the farm, right next to the amazing wood fire oven, so we could do pizzas for the kids. I brought the dough from the bakery and then we had a blast rolling and baking pizzas, then the kids were going around the farm discovering everything that was in season and tasting the occasional cherry tomato or the fancy edible flowers. Hide and seek has never been so exciting when you hide in a corner and you’re greeted by a huge spider, then you run away with your best buddy laughing out loud. Then you go home falling asleep on the bus back home, with dirt all over your cloth and tomato sauce that dripped from the pizza on your shirt… This, to me will be a memory you keep forever. The clown that fold balloons in heart shape on the other hand will be a bit less exciting to me… 

The Zen Organic Farm had put together a new discovery experience on rice. But not just any kind of rice experience. They have grown large rice fields, organically of course, and once ripe, they have put in place restored antique machines that were used in the past to separate the rice from the plant. People visiting can harvest their own rice, and follow the whole process until the rice is done and then you can bring the rice home to sample it. It was just perfect for kids, but I was in awe as well. The farmer explained just about everything about rice in the Chinese culture, which is extremely broad as it is the main staple food in this part of the world. For example, where are the measuring units coming from. That rice experience even made me dream of seeing other grains grown here that would be suitable for bread making! (Although the climate is too tropical for it, I can still dream about it! :))

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The field, protected from the heavy rain to keep the rice drier and mold free

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Once the rice grain are taken out of the plant, the plants are kept in bunch for other use

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Kids happily queuing to have a go at the machine separating the grains from the plant

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The machine to separate the grains from the plant, powered by cycling power!

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The machine used to separate the bran from the grain. The machine is operated by hand and the wind made by the inside fan is blowing he bran into a different channel (on the left wooden basket) While the grain of rice are going into the white bag. The bran is then fed to pigs at the farm.

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Different measure of rice

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The rice will then be dried for 3 days under the sun and the final husk will be removed to obtain the final white rice.

Growing and harvesting rice is like bread baking. It is simple, yet, it is an art that require passion and dedication. As I often say, to me the real foundation of taste does not start with the chef, but with the farmer who grows his produce with quality in mind. Knowing that whatever he grows will be the foundation of the Chef’s creativity and that it will be the main part of the diner’s experience. For sure, Zen Organic Farm won’t be able to supply their rice to the whole of Hong Kong as it is fairly small, but the fact of turning this experience as a didactic one is really clever and definitely worth a visit!

You can find all the details for visiting here!

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