Thailand is known for its rice, and the rice that is stealing the spotlight at the moment is known as Riceberry. Riceberry has antioxidants and contains the vitamins found in berries, and is slightly sweeter taste than normal Jasmine rice. Because of its organic and healthy nature, it is the healthy trend at the moment. However, what many people don’t know is what goes on in the creation of this tasty reddish-black rice.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to visit a Riceberry farm where the manager, Pi Somjook, revealed her production process. She is an extremely courteous woman who farms as one of her hobbies, which helps her relax from her day-to-day job as a music teacher and member of the executive team of Light Footsteps Initiative, which is an organization that empowers hospitalized youth by giving them a platform to pursue their passions.
In terms of its production method, Riceberry takes a total of 153 days to grow from seed to grain. First, Trichoderma, a type of mold, is used to create fermented water which she uses as natural fertilizer for the soul. This is done by leaving the mold in a container full of water for three days, turning the water red. One gallon of fertilizer mix can be used to fertilize 4 rai, 0.006 4 square kilometers of land.
After plowing the land to make the soil the perfect consistency, which takes anywhere from a morning to two days, the ground is burned in preparation. Afterwards, the rice is sowed, and after two weeks, rice buds will start to grow. However, during this time, cherry snails will infest the water as well, and must be routinely taken out as they can lay thousands of eggs and cause a snail infestation in the rice farm.
Rapidly, after these two weeks, the sprouts will grow and the first form of the rice grain will grow as a milky solution. These are prone to birds, which feast on these rice grains. She says a lot of her bottom line comes from hiring farmers to keep watch over the birds, which are not scared of scarecrows or CDs. During this time, she will have to merge the growing rice grains and sprouts in the water.
She must also be careful of other types of rice growing in her farm as if that is allowed to happen, her product would become mixed (mixed grain), which do not sell well. After another a few months, the rice grains are ready to harvest. After harvesting, the rice is put into an oven, where the moisture is allowed to soak out.
After 153 days, and 20 farmers, out of the 2,200 kilos, only 1,000 remain, which she sells for 100 baht per kilo.
At Light Footsteps, the proceeds and profits from her rice will go to our program. We will use the money to hire mentors for the hospitalized youth and help them acquire the resources they need to pursue their passions, from instruments to athletic equipment. We are currently selling in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but if you have any questions regarding Pi Somjook’s product or the process of Riceberry growing, feel free to contact me at email@example.com!