What is there to say about rice? Nothing and everything, it’s rice. It’s life. This rice is grown by special farmers in Sagada, Mountain Province. It takes 9 hours of non-stop driving for the rice to travel from Sagada to us. You wonder that for all of this effort, why can’t we find a closer source and lower our cost of transport. What is the sense in that? Who would that help? We learned from all these months of doing this that the farther you go into the interior, the bigger the problems the farmers have with getting their produce to market. Even more so for “luxury” produce like black. The restaurants and hotels that are the sole buyers for this rice from this group of farmers we are helping, we’ve been told that they have since closed or seen a contraction of business. Vegetable farmers, for all of their problems, will never have a lack of buyers if they manage to get their produce to market. But black rice farmers? This is our first attempt to help them.
There is an obvious question here and we asked that question already: Why can’t these rice farmers grow something else? The answer makes perfect sense for its insensibility. THESE FARMERS ARE PROUD TO GROW IT. This is what they call Balitanaw, loosely, heirloom rice—and just like a dying craft or language, it is these farmers who are keeping it alive for us in the face of imported gourmet rice. If you buy this rice, you are protecting a national food heritage. What is there to say about rice? A lot! It is rice, it is life.
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