We have almost 500 people signed up for The Kitchn Cure and Week One's assignment has them cleaning out their cupboards. I was wiping my shelves down last night and remembered how much I love my brown rice. I always keep in constant rotation a big Mason jar of Massa Organics brown rice.
After reading about it in the San Francisco Chronicle and Saveur, I ordered some Massa Organics rice. Since I'm not in California's bay area where it can be purchased at local farmers' markets like Oakland, SF Ferry Plaza, Berkeley, Marin, Davis and Chico, I had to order it online, which made me feel like a rice-cult follower. Faced with buying one two-pound bag or a giant twenty-pound bag I took the leap of faith, backed up by some office-mates, and bought the big guy. Even more of a follower.
The rice has a magical texture, much more tender than the brown rice I've gotten used to. The flavor is nutty, andI tend to under cook it just a smidge to preserve the nuttiness and keep a bit of snap to the texture.
The story of the people behind it is enough to make you want to taste the rice: Greg Massa, who grew up on the Chico, CA farm, has converted it to organic practices, built his family's home out of straw bales (from the rice straw) has five beautiful children who romp around the farm and can be found throughout the company's website playing in the wheat and holding bags of rice.
I asked Greg Massa why his part of California is so ideal for rice, a crop most people associate with parts of Asia. He said that the Sacramento Valley is blessed with the right combination of heavy clay soils that hold water well (good for growing a flooded crop), high summer temperatures with low humidity, and generally ample water supplies (except in drought years like the one the area is currently experiencing.) Rice loves these conditions, especially the clay soil, which is limiting to other crops.
Greg and his family also grow almonds and wheat berries. The almonds come sliced, whole, or as almond butter. The two-pound bag of rice costs $4 and the twenty-pound bag is $29.