A rice quiz

Here’s a quiz for you: How do you know when rice is ready to harvest?
The oldtimers do it by eating some. The less confident people (me!) use a machine. 

The ideal moisture content of your rice depends on how you are going to dry it (on poles in the field or by machine) and how you will store it (in the husk or as brown rice).

If you dry on poles as we do you then need to re-check the moisture content for storage before you thresh the rice.

You take a couple strands of rice straw from the middle of the rack (least exposure to air and sunlight) and pull the grains off with your hands. You run them through the de-husker (small white boxlike machine on the right) then use the tweezers to pull the grains out and run them through the digital moisture reader on a special little specimen tray. The tray is squished by the gray lever and the rice moisture content is shown on a screen. You repeat this 3-5 times with rice from different places in the rack and calculate the average. If the numbers are good you go ahead and harvest.

This year I relied on the machine but was most chuffed that my guesses based on visual and taste tests proved correct. I’ll be a proper teeth sucking, sky staring, weather predicting farmer in no time at this rate!

Looking at the two piles of rice on the blue sheet can you tell which one is adequately dried? Or even what the difference is?

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On farming in Japan

This is way more information than most people want or need but I found it really interesting so here you are:


And for once the comments are actually (mostly) interesting and informative!

And following the links in one of the comments I found this:

Which is quite dry but contains this paragraph:

“A distortion rooted in economic policy constitutes a further barrier to flexibility in farmland ownership. The inheritance tax deferment system, which is designed to prevent the miniaturization of farms through division into smaller plots, is flawed. The system exempts farmland from inheritance tax providing the land is not sold on for residential or other use for 20 years, but the fact that the deferment is terminated if the land is rented to another farmer discourages the owners of such land from leasing it. The system must be revised by revoking the 20-year privilege and allowing the deferment of inheritance tax to remain in force if the land is leased.”

Which goes a LONG way to explaining why there are so many people happy to lend us land for free but only one prepared to put it on paper. And it’s a catch 22 as the only way we can buy land is to show that we have rented it (or buy some MASSIVE plot but dues to the factors listed in the first article, there are very few massive lots). All very interesting and something I think is going to need to change in the next 10-20 years as the younger generation are just not as into farming as the older people doing it now are.


Welcome to Nagano, naturally.

I don’t want to be here.

It’s your fault!

No, really.

Nagano, naturally started with one post on a forum for foreign women living in Japan. I was asked if I thought my friends would be interested in buying some apples.

I asked.

They were.

And boom!

Nagano, naturally was born. And for almost a year it pretty much remained people I knew personally and the volume of sales remained manageable and facebook continued to be the easiest way for a farmer/ teacher who hates computers to connect farm fresh produce (because we soon branched out from apples to rice and rhubarb and vegetables and and and!) with people who appreciate it.

But Autumn 2016 has been a wonderful and crazy and overwhelming and exciting and stressful time. Sooooo much love from happy customers telling their friends and their friends and their friends about us and all of a sudden facebook messages is a time consuming and inexact way to run a farm-business. So time consuming I was using up all my farming hours inside on the computer- and that’s just crazy! And the random combination of orders via Nagano, naturally PMs, comments on photos, comments on posts, PMs to my personal facebook account and even the odd email is very confusing and overwhelming and leaves me in constant fear of disappointing people. And that just won’t do because as you know, happy customers is a core business philosophy here!

And so, Nagano, naturally started a website.

No, really. I did. One Saturday night until 3am……

And it is imperfect and misshapen and quite possibly has a bruise or blemish I don’t even know about (kind of like the produce really!) but hopefully (pretty pleased, fingers crossed!) it will make ordering much easier for you all and keeping track of orders much much easier for Nagano, naturally!

And I do have a tech savvy friend waiting in the wings for if everything goes completely pear shaped. Haha, get it? Pear shaped???

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Anyway, welcome to the website and as with all things Nagano, naturally- if something here doesn’t work for you please let me know so I can fix it!