Depending on the weather, a decision on when to combine is made from one day to the next. Once the time is right, everything happens very quickly. Row by row, the rice stalks are harvested, the grains end up in the belly of the machine, and the dusty straw is left behind on the field. From the combine, the harvested crop is transferred directly into a trailer and taken to the drying facility. There, the harvested grain is dried at around 45 degrees in a convection oven for up to 20 hours.
The next step is hulling. This involves the removal of the outer membrane, the technical term for which is the “hull”, through friction. Brown rice is the result of this process. Further processing occurs away from Ascona. Further husking, polishing and buffing takes place in specialised mills in Taverne in the canton of Ticino or Brunnen in the canton of Schwyz.
The resulting white rice is then packaged and sold under the label “Riso Nostrano”. In a good summer, around 400 to 450 tonnes of rice grains are harvested at Terreni alla Maggia. However, over 40 per cent of this is lost during drying and husking.