Food, Plant

Rice Paddy Harvest, Grain and Post-Harvest

I noticed that they had harvested most of the front (first) rice paddy yesterday, and currently working on the second (middle section) rice paddy.  There is something about people working in the rice paddy that gives me that nostalgic feeling, and the ethnic hat and basket backpack just made it much more appealing to look at. They harvested the rice paddy on Tuesday of this week, and also today, a good day to spend working in the rice paddy because most work places are a bit slow right now, and most only get to work 4 days work week instead of the usual 5 days.

I was hoping that I could find out how they get the shelves off from the rice.  So I decided to head down to the rice paddies again this afternoon, and as I was approaching the house, I saw my co-worker working in her back yard with her cousin.  She was threshing, loosening the rice from the tied bundle by beating it with a stick.

From observing her work site, the full process seems to be harvest, threshing, drying, taking off the shelves, and separating the rice grains from shelves.

I didn’t see any mortar and pestle, and asked about how she removes her rice grains from the shelves, she took me into her garage, and pointed to a food processor and a leaf blower vac.  After seeing all the gadgets, I’m still a bit confused because I couldn’t imagine how that would work.

Since the food processor has blades, she would let it spin once or twice so that it would not chop the rice grains, and the food processor would get too hot when used for a long period of time. She also uses the leaf blower vac that has a cloth bag attached to the blower, when uses to vacuum, the metal blades sling the rice around, and as a result, the shelves came off.

This is what the first rice paddy looks like this afternoon, still some rice but thin and far in between.  The water in this paddy is dried, you could see the foot prints left by the person that harvested the rice paddy. I love coming out here, I could hear frogs croaking, crickets chirping, and fish or frogs splashing the water.  The dragonflies hovering over the rice paddies are really pretty to look at, they are so small and move real fast, it’s hard to get a good shot.

This is the first time I met my co-worker’s cousin and I told her how pretty the rice paddies are this year, and she said that her children don’t even know what they look like, they only see the rice grains.  I considered myself very lucky to be able to see all this in America.

17 thoughts on “Rice Paddy Harvest, Grain and Post-Harvest”

  1. That’s interesting how she uses the food processor to separate the rice from it’s pod. My parents and cousins are very traditional, so they are still using the old method of separating the rice and it’s pod like what I’ve post up before. This is a very interesting method.

    You know, it is true, many Hmong American do not care for the farms and hard work their parents put into them. I too am very lucky to be able to experience this in America. Many of them do not appreciate anything of the old ways, but are very much Americanized. I am lucky that my parents had always taught me to be grateful with what i have and with being Hmong. They had always pushed us to be “as Hmong as possible”.

  2. Those are some pretty flowers you are planting. I had googled the image of those flowers and boy, they sure are beautiful!

    Yes, you should really try reading “the spirit catches you and you fall down” when you have the chance to do so. It’s an amazing book.

  3. mozemoua, I wrote a post awhile back and the one that I have is very small, only 2 small leaves, my younger sister gave it to me. I will definitely check out the book, thanks.

  4. wow..this is making me hungry.. I miss eating these fresh rice..hrmm..nice picture by the way ginger..

  5. Ginger, you did a great job documenting the planting and harvesting of the rice field.

    It must take lots of work and effort to grow rice. But the people really do look like they are enjoying themselves. 🙂

    Btw, what do they do with the rice bran (the brown outer skin)? I wonder if they use it as mulch or even add into cooking.

  6. Salat, I kind of got lucky being there at the right time. I hope I’m answering your question correctly, the rice that we see in the store are white rice, which means a layer of the brown cover has been taken off by processing it. The brown rice has vitamins and minerals and that is why many people eat brown rice.

    As for the outer shelve that is covering the rice grain that is very rough in texture, they throw that away. My co-worker said that she has no used for them; I thought she might put that in her garden or something, but said no and even asked if I want them. Lol.

    I think in Laos and Thailand when I was little, the small pieces that break off from the rice grains that they couldn’t sell, they’d use that to feed the pig, dog or other farm animals.

  7. Now that I look closely at the pictures, I see it is the rough outside shell. Not the rice bran I was imagining. These are called “hull”. Some companies process it as animal feed, chicken bedding material, or mixed into the soil as compost. So maybe now you bring some hull over to your dad’s garden now. 🙂

    I’ve been eating a mixture of brown & white rice cooked together lately. It’s less chewy then brown rice alone. Brown rice is good for you, but just doesn’t taste that good to me.

  8. Where is this rice field? I would love to see it and take some pictures of it. I too do feel nostalgic seeing the women in the field. I’m sure my mom would love to be in here place.

  9. Hi Xweets, I replied to your comment via email, please let me know if you didn’t get it.

    Also for others, the rice paddy is in North Carolina.

  10. Is this what she listens to when harvesting the rice? Nicole Theriault-Bootsabah:-)
    How much rice did she get from that harvest I wonder? Must be very rewarding indeed.

    1. Hi PaNoy, not the song that they were listening to whilst harvesting, but the song that I was listening to when I was posting this post. 🙂

      They go in together to grow this, so there are 3 paddies total, one for each family, and they only have enough to last them a year. They are planting the seed about now, and will start planting the rice plant in the paddies in May.

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