Rice Calasparra is very old, documents from the fourteenth century talk about the importance of rice cultivation in the Vega del Segura.
Despite its low production, the cultivation area of Calasparra Rice is relevant, motivated in part by the introduction of traditional agriculture techniques. The effort was rewarded in 1986 with the recognition of the Designation of Origin, which guarantees the quality of the product. The characteristics that make particular Calasparra rice are manifested in its taste and consistency. It is a type of rice that requires much water and cooking time a little longer, which causes the grain to swell more and better to penetrate other flavors. Much more resistant than others without losing its fillings and culinary qualities.
Season: The season of harvest is dictated by the Board during the months of October and November. Consumed throughout the year.
The production area consists of land located in the towns of Moratalla and Calasparra, in the province of Murcia, and Hellín in the province of Albacete. The area is mountainous and sunny with cold water and a climate that slows the ripening grain. It is well defined by a network of irrigation channels, which makes the expansion of rice fields.
Calasparra Heading home
Protected Rice will be:
- White rice: One whose mature grains were eliminated in whole or in part cuticles pericarp color and showing more or less uniform but still white. Commercial grades of 'Extra' and 'First'.
- Brown Rice: Made up of grains of rice mature devoid of its outer coat or husk and the lining of the pericarp which owes its color.
The most cultivated is Balilla X Sollana.
The general characteristics of the variety Pump are:
- Round grains and higher hardness.
- Longer time to cook.
- Important increase in length and large absorption of water in cooking.
The production area consists of land located in the towns of Moratalla and Calasparra in the Murcia province and in Hellín Albacete province. Areas of processing and packaging line with the production.
Method of Preparing the ground for obtaining
The area is a growing number of alternatives for better land use, the most common:
- April/May to October/November: Rice.
- November to June: Wheat.
- June to December: Corn.
- April to December: Legume.
To start again the cycle that lasts two years and which enriches the ground to avoid exhausting the richness of the soil.
The land that is with legumes is milled and wrapped in the provision of land as green manure in rice cultivation. Then the water is in the plots, which aree divided into banks with a slight incline towards the river.
Sowing and cultivation
Once the water has reached all plots sown rice, it is pulled through by hand.
Rice is left logged approximately 7-8 cm. water, until the birth of the plant. Once the plant is ready, they remove weeds by manual weeding procedures and is a replacement plant in the case there was no birth.
In the month of July is the subscriber of the crop. If organic agriculture, the subscriber shall abide by relevant regulations. The water level is maintained throughout the growing season, retiring 8 or 10 days before the harvest when the grain is ripe.
Upon withdrawal of the water and the land parcel is the collection of cereal, rice transported to the mills to start the drying process.
The collection starts at the time that the Board determines.
Once collected goes to processing industries or cooperatives in which to undergo the following processes:
- Drying: Removal of excess water from the grain to reduce it to 15%.
- Storage: Once dry, it proceeds to its storage in silos or warehouses, to the actual process of milling.
- Milling: Removing husk and the pericarp of cuticles until the white rice is for sale.
The rice husk is removed leaving only the coated rice pericarp.
- Cleaning: Removal of foreign bodies by air, and vibration.
- Packaging: Introduction of rice in containers authorized by automatic dosing.
- Extrinsic Quality Control: Operation to ensure that packages are correct in terms of weight, foreign matter, damaged grains, etc. and meet the tolerances specified in the legislation concerned.
- Labeling: Putting back the label and packaging.
The cultivation of rice in the area dates back to ancient Calasparra. From the age of cultural techniques used there is in Chapter Acts and various documents dating from the fifteenth century and bear witness to the importance of these agriculture systems and in several inherited from ditches are records of the year 1785, in which Farmers regulated cultivation and use of water.
Writings on the area, the year 1907, say that previously there was a Royal Order of St. John of Malta, which belonged to this population, which authorized the cultivation of rice land this area.
Growers now have a written transcript of a Royal Decree of the Ministry for the Promotion of January 1, 1908, declaring the game a certain rice lands of the towns of Moratalla and Calasparra.
Area called Coto is located in a mountainous ravine and along the river Segura, which is almost certain to exist between the mountains and small flare vegas, who, together with narrow strips of land allow the river area of production. Its ecological environment is clearly different from one grown in mountainous and sunny area, with a height between 341 and 500 meters above sea level.
Generally brown limestone soils on consolidated material, alternating with marl in some areas in complex with brown limestone soil.
The climate is Mediterranean, with annual average temperatures below 15 º warm summers and winters with rainfall below 400 mm.
The most important is the river Segura, is introduced into the production area to the northwest and crosses to the southeast. Its main tributary is the River Mundo.
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food