Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rice harvest

The Ebro River delta (Delta del Ebro in Spanish or Deltebre in Catalan) is where most of Spain’s rice is grown. The village of Riumar where we own two 3-bedroom chalets is on the tip of the delta where it meets the Mediterranean Sea. September is harvest month. The rice paddies are planted and flooded in late April or early May. As they grow they look very much like wheat fields, except rice grows in flooded paddies. Combines harvest the rice and afterwards the fields look like bad haircuts. Trucks take rice from the paddies to collection areas around the delta. The rice is dumped into huge mountains then spread out in flat to dry.

After it has dried trucks come from all over Europe to these collection areas. The truckers drive up onto a scale empty, are weighed and then each truck is filled up with rice, the bad is covered and the filled truck is weighed again. Then they are off to their various processing plants. At harvest the rice is brown because it still has a tough husk on the outside. Later it will be a creamier white and used most often in paella.

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