Sunday, December 19, 2004


This morning as we were taking our walk, regarding which there was nothing remarkable apart from the gold-and-lapis panorama of the sun rising over the lake, the lungfuls of rich air freshly expressed by the mountain forests and the food that is the feeling of your legs carrying you easily along a morning mountain road, we had gotten as far as the other side of the draw when, looking back at our house in the distance, we saw a white van pull up in the drive and knew at once that it must be Mr. S., come to deliver our organic genmai (brown rice) r-e-a-l-l-y early so we had to hurry back.

Since Mr. S. lives across the Lake, is a busy man and his delicious rice is increasingly in demand, he is not that easy to get hold of. When at last we did get reach him a few days ago, he had said he'd deliver our 60 kg before 10 a.m. on Sunday, but this was very before 10 am (folks who get up as early as we do tend to think everyone else’s day starts later) so we had to run all the way back while watching to see if Mr. S. might give up and drive away with our genmai. I had dallied earlier to take some photos, so Echo had a head start and got back just as he was turning around in the driveway to head back down the mountain.

Mr. S. is a tall, handsome, healthy, loquacious, elegantly dressed 80-year-old who moves like a much younger man. He is also a bonsai master; one of his black pine creations was in the back of his truck beside our 60 kg of genmai; he is selling some of his collection. The 60 kg he brought us will last the two of us about 5-6 months if we eat our usual amount of rice, but Kaya and the twins are coming, so this is more likely a 4-month supply.

Mr. S. grows organic rice using rice bran and a fermentation process in a method he has developed on his own and is trying to get patented, from which he produces fully organic genmai using no chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or othercides. This is especially important with brown rice, which is so much closer to the actual state of cultivation. But what is amazingly more, he charges about 1/3 less for it than other organic sources charge.

The rice he delivers is 100% brown rice; only the hulls have been removed. Our task now is to find a larger rice polisher; we like to occasionally have 80% ‘brown’ rice, or even 50% sometimes, depending on the recipe. We save the removed bran for baking bread, use it in soups or simply spread it on the garden. Mr. S.’s brown rice is definitely the best way to eat grains. Plus we're forced to run back to the house now and then. I’ll have to see about maybe getting one of his cherry bonsai...

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