Friday, December 05, 2014

5th December (Friday),2014 Daily Exclusive ORYZA E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

FAO Forecasts Higher Rice Imports by Haiti in 2014-15

Dec 04, 2014

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has forecasted Haiti's 2014-15 (July - June) rice imports to increase by about 8% due to an expected decline in production. The FAO estimates Haiti's 2014-15 cereal imports at around 705,000 tons, up about 7% from around 658,879 tons imported last year.
The FAO estimates Haiti 2014 paddy rice production at around 125,000 tons (around 69,000 tons, basis milled), down about 26% from around 169,000 tons (around 92,950 tons, basis milled) in 2013 due to unseasonal dry weather from June to August. The UN agency expects Haiti's 2014 total cereal production to decline 40% year-on-year to around 367,000 tons.
Average prices of imported rice remained stable at around 45,930 gourde per ton (around $1,014 per ton) since March this year. However, average prices of locally produced rice remained stable at around 91,882 gourde (around $2,047) per ton between February - July 2014 but since then they have declined about 7.5% to around 84,981 gourde (around 1,852) per ton in November 2014. 
USDA estimates Haiti to produce around 78,000 tons of milled rice in 2014-15, unchanged from last year's level; and estimates Haiti to import around 410,000 tons of rice in 2014-15, down about 1.2% from around 415,000 tons exported last year.
Global Rice Quotes

December 4th, 2014

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade          420-430           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken    385-395           ↔
India 5% broken         395-405           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken    380-390           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken             460-470           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           540-550           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    595-605           ↔
Argentina 5% broken 595-605           ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken NQ      ↔
Vietnam 25% broken 350-360           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken 335-345           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken           NQ      ↔
India 25% broken       355-365           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         515-525           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd            405-415           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd    420-430           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd         380-390           ↔
U.S. parboiled 4% broken       580-590           ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken    570-580           ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken            NQ      ↔

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%          915-925           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         515-525           ↔
India basmati 2% broken        NQ      ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken   NQ      ↔
Cambodia Phka Malis             825-835           ↔

Thailand A1 Super      330-340           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken            325-335           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd    300-310           ↓
Cambodia A1 Super   NQ      ↔
India 100% Broken stxd         300-310           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens NQ      ↔
U.S. pet food 445-455           ↔
Brazil half grain          NQ      ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

FAO Global Rice Price Index Declines 1% m/m to 232 Points in November 2014

Dec 04, 2014
he FAO All Rice Price Index declined to around 232 points in November 2014, down about 1.3% from around 235 points in October 2014 due to decline in Higher and Lower Quality Indica sub-indices as well as Aromatic sub-indices. Japonica sub-index, however, recorded an increase.Aromatic sub-index witnessed highest decline of about 56 points reaching to around 212 points in November 2014 from around 268 points in October 2014 due to a shift of quotations from the old to the new rice crops, according to the FAO. Its effect on the overall index was offset by a 27 point increase in the Japonica sub-index to around 200 points this month from around 204 points last month. Japonica sub-index increased significantly due to the reintroduction of the Egyptian medium grain rice price in its computation.
 Egyptian rice prices increased substantially compared to those prevailing before imposing export restrictions in 2013.Higher Quality Indica sub-index declined by about 4 points to around 199 points in November 2014, from around 203 points last month. Lower Quality Indica sub-index also declined by about 4 points to around 200 points this month from around 204 points last month.
In January - November 2014, the FAO All Rice Price Index averaged 236 points, slightly up from around 234 points during the same period in 2013. Sub index for higher quality Indica rice prices declined about 5.5% y/y and sub index for lower quality Indica prices declined about 11% y/y. Aromatic rice price sub index declined about 2.6% y/y. However, sub index for Japonica rice prices increased about 15% y/y. 
According to the FAO, rice export prices in the Asian origins such as Thailand, Vietnam and India declined in November 2014 due to ongoing harvests and stiff competition between them. Export prices of Pakistan non-basmati rice and Uruguay origins strengthened. While export prices of U.S. rice remained unchanged.Thai 100% broken prices declined about 2.3% m/m to around $427 per ton; Thai 5% broken prices declined about 2.3% m/m to around $418 per ton; Thai parboiled rice prices declined about 2.3% m/m to around $420 per ton; Thai 25% broken prices declined about 2.2% m/m to around $400 per ton and Thai fragrant prices declined about 9% m/m to around $1,062 per ton. Thai A1 Super declined about 2% m/m to around $338 per ton.
Export prices in Vietnam and India declined about 6% m/m and 2.4% m/m to around $379 per ton and $362 per ton respectively.Rice export prices in of Pakistan 25% broken rice increased by about 2% m/m to around $352 per ton, while those in Uruguay increased slightly m/m to around $600 per ton. However, export prices of the U.S. rice remained unchanged at last year's level of around $1,000 per ton. 

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Sideways Market Needs Increased Exports to Lift Prices

Dec 04, 2014
The U.S. cash market continued to trend sideways amid very limited trading. Analysts contend that despite the recent sales to Iraq it will take a substantial uptick in export demand to lift prices.In the meantime, the USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week ending on November 27th, totaled 152,500 tons which was considerably higher than last week and the prior 4-week average.
Increases reported for the following destinations including: 120,000 tons to Iraq, 24,700 tons to Japan, 5,400 tons to Guatemala, including 4,400 tons switch from unknown destinations, 1,100 tons switched from El Salvador, and decreases of 500 MT, 4,000 tons Taiwan, and 1,300 tons to Canada while decreases of 4,400 tons were reported for unknown destinations as well as 1,600 tons for El Salvador.U.S. rice exporters shipped 64,400 tons which was 6% lower than last week and 11% lower than the prior 4-week average. The primary destinations included: 14,600 tons to Honduras, 13,800 tons to Mexico, 10,500 tons to Guatemala, 9,400 tons to El Salvador, and 3,100 tons to Costa Rica.

Oryza Overnight Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Unchanged Overnight as Market Continues to Drift Sideways

Dec 04, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery were paused unchanged overnight at $12.140 per cwt (about $268 per ton) ahead of trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen mostly higher: soybeans are currently seen 0.7% higher, wheat is listed about 1.1% lower and corn is noted about 0.7% higher.U.S. stocks futures turned mostly lower on Thursday after U.S. weekly jobless claims rose more than expected and the European Central Bank held interest rates at record lows. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits declined by 17,000 to 297,000, versus a 295,000 forecast.
The European Central Bank held interest rates unchanged, with investors listening to a news conference by ECB President Mario Draghi for signals as to when the central bank might add further stimulus. The Bank of England held its benchmark interest rate at a record low on Thursday, prompted by feeble wage growth, relatively low inflation and stagnation in the euro zone. In other news, FOMC members Mester and Brainard will be speaking in Washington today. Meanwhile in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual Presidential address to the Federal Assembly, where he accused Western powers of "pure cynicism" over the crisis in Ukraine.
In Europe, shares were higher in morning trade ahead of the central bank data and Asian stocks climbed following record highs overnight after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book indicated optimism about the economic outlook. Gold is currently trading about 0.2% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 1.4% lower,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.5% lower at 8:10am Chicago time.

Overuse of Nitrogen Affects Zinc Absorption and Indirectly Rice Yield

Dec 04, 2014
The Krishi Vignan Kendra team in Kadapa, south India, lead by Dr Madan Mohan made a few observations based on their research work on how fertilizers are best used on crops such as rice, cotton, sunflower, groundnut, chilli and turmeric.
Oryza: What is your advice to rice farmers on usage of fertilizers?
KVK team:
It is just another myth that more fertilizers means better paddy yields. There is just no correlation between the two. Now with the cost of chemicals spiralling up with every passing day, and the soil steadily losing out on its original fertility, it is time to rethink usage of chemical fertilizers, in most cases, over-usage of chemicals in the farm. Farmers in Chittoor in Anantapuram, a town in south India, have practically witnessed and learnt the hard way how the soil loses its fertility after heavy usage of Nitrogen in their farms.
Oryza: What is wrong in what the farmers did in usage of fertilizers?
KVK team:
The Nitrogen residues in the soil had prevented the seepage of Zinc into the soil, thus drastically affecting the final yield.
Oryza: What are your guidelines to them on doing it the right way?
KVK team:
Sound technical research along with good old wisdom has shown that three equal parts of Nitrogen served during tilling, seeding and germination of the plant and watering it lightly within 48 hours yields good results. For 50 kg of urea, mix 10 kg of neem powder and set it aside for 48 hours before applying it to the soil. This will help in judicious absorption of Nitrogen into the soil. Phosphorous should be used only during tilling stage in hard soils. It should be applied in two phases - during tilling and during germination if the soil is light and soft.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Continue to Consolidate as Strong Exports Provide Little Surprise

Dec 04, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery settled 2 cents per cwt (about $0.44 per ton) lower at $12.120 per cwt (about $267 per ton). Rough rice futures continued their pattern of consolidation noted yesterday, once again charting an inside day. Traders continue to monitor prices for indication of a breakout of the current pattern but appear to be stepping to the sideline as indicated by a sharp reduction in trade volume over the past few trading sessions. Although the current shot-term, multi-session, and medium term, multi week, trends remain bearish the market appears to have found support around $12.100 per cwt (about $267 per ton) and some market participants expect that a recovery could be to come.
The other grains closed higher today; Soybeans closed about 1.2% higher at $10.1050 per bushel; wheat finished a touch higher at $5.9075 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 2% higher at $3.9075 per bushel.U.S. stocks erased losses and turned mostly positive on Thursday as investors embraced reports that the European Central Bank's governing council was expected to consider a broad-based package of quantitative easing at its January meeting. Comments from Draghi had thrown cold water on hopes the ECB would begin a program of sovereign-debt purchases called quantitative easing.
The central bank held interest rates at a record low. After a 97-point fall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately off 4.02 points at 17,908.60. The S&P 500 fell a point to 2,073.37, with materials the best performing and energy hardest hit of all of its 10 major industry groups in decline. The Nasdaq rose 2.56 points, or 0.1%, to 4,777.05. Gold is trading about 0.1% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 0.6% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.3% lower at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Wednesday, there were 337 contracts traded, down from 918 contracts traded on Tuesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Wednesday decreased by 55 contracts to 10,344.

South Korea Buys 90 Tons of Non-Glutinous Rice in Tender

Dec 04, 2014
South Korea's state run Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (KAFTC) has purchased 90 tons of long-grain milled non-glutinous rice of Thai origin at $1,045 per ton in a tender that closed on November 25, 2014, according to a notice posted on its website.

Pakistan Rice Sellers Lower Some of Their Quotes Today; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged

Dec 04, 2014
Pakistan rice sellers lowered their quotes for 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $300 - $310 per ton today. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $385 - $395 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $395 - $405 per ton, about $15 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $380 - $390 per ton.
25% Broken Rice  
Thailand 25% rice was last quoted at around $350 - $360 per ton, on par with Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $350 - $360 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $355 - $365, about $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $335 - $345 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton. India parboiled rice is quoted at around $380 - $390 per ton, about $40 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $420 - $430 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton, about $5 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $325 - $335 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $300 - $310 per ton, on par with Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $300 - $310 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday.

USDA Post Estimates Indonesia to Import 1.225 Million Tons of Rice in MY 2013-14; Up 88% from Last Year

Dec 04, 2014

The USDA Post has estimated Indonesia to import around 1.225 million tons of rice in MY 2013-14 (January 2014 - December 2014), up about 88% from an estimated 650,000 tons in MY 2012-13. However, the Post has lowered its estimates for Indonesia's imports from the official estimates by about 12.5% from around 1.4 million tons due to an expected decline in premium rice imports by the private sector following the introduction of new rice import rules earlier this year.
In Indonesia, only the state Logistics Agency Bulog is permitted to import medium-quality rice while private sector is allowed to import specialty rice (basmati, Thai Hom Mali, and japonica) as well as 100% broken rice, glutinous rice, and rice for diabetic purposes. The private sector usually imports about 200,000 - 250,000 tons of speciality rice. The government tightened import procedures to avert misappropriations and smuggling of rice.
The government wants Bulog to hold at least 2 million tons of rice stocks by the end of this year. However due to expected decline in production and consequently procurement, it authorized Bulog to import 500,000 tons of rice, including 300,000 tons of medium quality 25% broken rice and 200,000 tons of premium quality 5% broken rice. Bulog so far imported 425,000 tons of rice this year. Bulog targets to procure 3.2 million tons of rice from local farmers.Based on the forecasts by the  Indonesian National Statistics Agency (Badan Pusat Statistik, BPS), the Post estimates Indonesia's milled rice production at around 36.3 million tons (around 57.16 million tons, basis paddy), slightly down from an estimated 36.55 million tons (around 57.56 million tons, basis paddy) and up about 0.8% from USDA's official estimates of about 36 million tons (around 56.69 million tons, basis paddy).

Indonesia's new President is targeting to achieve self-sufficiency in rice, corn and soybean production by 2017 and is accordingly planning to build 47 water reservoirs as well as renovate the existing irrigation canals.

4th December,2014 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

UPDATE 1-Bangladesh signs deal to export 50,000 T rice to Sri Lanka at $450/T

Wed Dec 3, 2014 6:16am EST
(Add pact signed, details)
By Ruma Paul
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Bangladesh signed a pact on Wednesday to export 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka at $450 a tonne in a first government-to-government deal, a senior food ministry official said.
Strong output and good reserves have prompted the Bangladesh government to initiate the plan to export rice. Bangladesh exports a small quantity of aromatic rice, but this deal would be its first export of non-fragrant coarse rice.The price of rice has shot up in Sri Lanka after production dropped due to an 11-month drought, which experts consider to be the worst in its recent history.Mohammad Sarwar Khan, director general of the Bangladesh food department, and Nalin Fernando, chairman of the Lanka Sathosa Ltd, signed the deal.
The price included freight and insurance and the shipment of the parboiled rice would be within 60 days, the ministry official said.Bangladesh aims to produce more than 34 million tonnes of rice this year, up from nearly 33.5 million in the previous year. Its reserves have risen to more than 1.2 million tonnes from nearly 1 million tonnes a year earlier.The world's fourth-biggest rice producer, Bangladesh consumes almost all its production to feed its population of 160 million. It often needs to import rice to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities such as floods or droughts.
Although it did not import rice during the last two years, Bangladesh was ranked as the fourth-largest importer of the grain by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2011, with a volume of 1.48 million tonnes.In late 2012, the government considered lifting a four-year-old ban on rice exports to support farmers as record crops and bulging domestic reserves pushed prices below production costs.But prices soared in January 2013, and the government backed away from scrapping the export ban.Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry reduced taxes on rice imports in April and on pulses in July to help mitigate the effects of this year's drought on the market.
($1 = 77.75 Bangladesh Taka = 131.05 Sri Lankan rupee) (Reporting by Ruma Paul; editing by David Clarke)

PAU don gets national recognition

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, December 03, 2014
First Published: 18:09 IST(3/12/2014) | Last Updated: 18:12 IST(3/12/2014)
Professor of Soil Conservation at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Surinder Singh Kukal has been selected as fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), New Delhi, for his vital contribution towards developing irrigation water management strategies for rice-wheat system. This is the most prestigious award bestowed upon scientists.PAU vice-chancellor BS Dhillon congratulated Dr Kukal for this achievement. He said, "This is indeed a great honour for the university."
 He hoped that Dr Kukal would continue serving the farming community with dedication and devotion in future as well.Kukal has developed need-based irrigation water management in rice and wheat crops. He has been the principal investigator of inter-disciplinary international research projects on water management in rice, wheat and maize crops funded by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philipinnes; International Potash Institute, Israel; and Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (Australia).Besides, he has handled research projects on gully erosion management in the Shiwalik region of Punjab funded by department of science and technology, Government of India.Kukal has been visiting scientist to CSIRO, Griffith, Australia where he worked on water management in rice and wheat grown on permanent raised beds.
 He was invited thrice to present lead papers at the International Conference on Land Degradation in Serbia, China and Thailand.Recently, he had been special invitee to the plenary meeting of Sustainable Rice Platform of United Nations Environment Programme, and was nominated as member of advisory committee of SRP for the period 2013-15.Kukal was also the recipient of the 12th International Soil Science Congress Commemoration Award (2012) of Indian Society of Soil Science; Dr G S Khush Distinguished Professor Award (2013) and PAU merit certificate for outstanding contributions to research, teaching and extension (2011-12). Besides, he has won best research paper award at the national level
Source with thanks:


RGA scholarships open

04 Dec, 2014 02:25 PM
APPLICATIONS for the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia’s (RGA) Tertiary Scholarships are now open.
RGA president Les Gordon said the RGA awards two scholarships to the children or grandchildren of RGA members to assist with their tertiary education costs as part of their commitment to the industry’s long term future.The scholarships are named after two past leaders of the rice industry, Greg Graham and Peter Connor. Greg Graham was president of the RGA when he died suddenly on New Year’s Day in 1983. He was actively involved in the irrigation and rice industry, as well as his local community of Deniliquin.
Peter Connor was a leading rice grower in the Coleambally area, and was vice president of the RGA as well as a board member of the Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Limited.The Greg Graham Memorial Scholarship provides $4000 to assist a student with the costs of tertiary education. This award is sponsored by Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd. The Peter Connor Book Award, awarded to the runner-up of the Greg Graham Memorial Scholarship winner, consists of $1300 to put towards the cost of books and course materials.
Last year’s winner of the Greg Graham Memorial Scholarship was Luke O’Connor, Deniliquin, who is studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management.Luke said the scholarship significantly helped fund his university studies and allowed him to comfortably afford the costs of living away from home and achieve good results in all his subjects.“We are grateful for the generous support of Rice Research Australia and very pleased to be able to offer the scholarship in 2015. I would encourage university students who are studying agriculture related courses to apply for the scholarship,” Mr Gordon said.Applications close Friday January 16, 2015. Download forms from the RGA website or call (02) 6953 0433.

Weeds, Pests & Pathogens Beware: The Air's CO2 Content is Rising

Paper Reviewed
Goufo, P., Pereira, J., Moutinho-Pereira, J., Correia, C.M., Figueiredo, N., Carranca, C.,Rosa, E.A.S. and Trindade, H. 2014. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) phenolic compounds under elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. Environmental and Experimental Botany 99: 28-37.In introducing their study of the subject, Goufo et al. note that crop plants need phenolic compounds "for structural support, constitutive and induced protection and defense against weeds, pathogens and insects," citing Jones and Hartley (1999). And they note, in this regard, that carbon dioxide is one of the four major raw materials that plants need in order to produce phenolic compounds, the other three being water, nutrients and light, additionally citing Bryantet al. (1983), Coley et al. (1985) and Herms and Mattson (1992).

With the objective to learn how the ongoing rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration might influence the production of phenolics in rice - one of the world's most important food crops - the eight Portuguese scientists conducted a two-year field study of a japonica rice variety (Oryza sativa L. cv. Ariete) that employed open-top chambers maintained at either 375 or 550 ppm CO2 over two entire life cycles of the crop, during which time numerous plant samples were collected at five different growth stages and assessed for occurrence and amounts of many plant-produced substances, including phenolics.

This work revealed, according to Goufo et al., that "during the early stages of plant development, photosynthates were mainly used to synthesize proteins and meet the growth demand of the plant," while the normal occurrence of growth reduction typically experienced at maturity "made more resources available for the synthesis of phenolic compounds." And they further report, in this regard, that all plant organs had higher levels of phenolic acids and flavonoids in response to "CO2 enrichment during the maturity stages."

As for the significance of these findings, the eight researchers write that "phenolic compounds are emerging as important defense compounds in rice," particularly noting that the phenolic compound tricin "inhibits the growth ofEchinochloa colonumEchinochloa crusgalliCyperus iris and Cyperus difformis," which they say "are the most noxious weeds in rice fields," citing Kong et al. (2004). And they add that several flavonoids "have also been found to exhibit antibiotic activities against the soil-borne pathogenic fungi Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium oxysporum," which they say are "the causal agents of rice seedling rot disease," again citing Kong et al. (2004), as well as Olofsdotter et al. (2002). And they thus suggest that the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 concentration may well "increase plant resistance to specific weeds, pests and pathogens," which should be great news for rice growers.

Bryant, J.P., Chapin III, F.S. and Klein, D.R. 1983. Carbon-nutrient balance of boreal plants in relation to vertebrate herbivory. Oikos 40: 357-368.
Coley, P.D., Bryant, J.P. and Chapin III, F.S. 1985. Resource availability and plant antiherbivore defense. Science 230: 895-899.
Jones, C.G. and Hartley, S.E. 1999. A protein competition model of phenolic allocation. Oikos 86: 27-44.
Kong, C., Xu, X., Zhou, B., Hu, F., Zhang, C. and Zhang, M. 2004. Two compounds from allelopathic rice accession and their inhibitory activity on weeds and fungal pathogens. Phytochemistry 65: 1123-1128.
Olofsdatter,M., Jensen,L.B. and Courtois, B. 2002. Improving crop competitive ability using allelopathy - an example from rice. Plant Breeding 121: 1-9.
Posted 3 December 2014 

Little Rock Restaurant Promotion        
ARLINGTON, VA -- Fifteen restaurants that serve U.S.-grown rice will participate in the USA Rice Federation restaurant promotion conducted in conjunction with the 2014 USA Rice Outlook Conference in Little Rock.  Restaurants included on the list will welcome industry members by displaying the "Proudly Supporting America's Rice Farmers" emblem and featuring rice dishes on their menus.

The participating Little Rock restaurants expressed enthusiasm for the program and are looking forward to hosting Outlook attendees.  Many restaurants voiced their desire to leave the emblem up year-round as a show of support for U.S. rice farmers.

"Foodservice is an important trend-setting growth segment for the rice industry," said Katie Maher, USA Rice's manager of domestic promotion.  "It is so great to see restaurants serving local ingredients and using U.S.-grown rice to develop creative dishes on their menus.  We hope that those in attendance at this year's conference will show their support for these restaurants that proudly serve American-grown rice."

This annual promotion helps increase awareness of U.S.-grown rice among chefs in the host cities for the USA Rice Outlook Conference.

Japan Announces Results of 8th Ordinary Import Tender in FY 2014  

Country of Origin
Number of Importer
Quantity (MT)
Participated Bidders
Amount of Bids (MT)

Non-glutinous milled rice (medium grain)
Non-glutinous milled rice (medium grain)

Non-glutinous milled rice
(long grain)

Grand Total


Avg Price for Successful Bids

JPY 96,224/mt

JPY 103,922/mt
(tax excluded)

(tax included)

Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported       
WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 152,500 MT for 2014/2015  were reported for Iraq (120,000 MT), Japan (24,700 MT), Guatemala (5,400 MT, including 4,400 MT switched from unknown destinations, 1,100 MT switched from El Salvador, and decreases of 500 MT), Taiwan (4,000 MT), and Canada (1,300 MT), according to today's Export Sales Highlights report.  Decreases were reported for unknown destinations (4,400 MT) and El Salvador (1,600 MT). 

Exports of 64,400 MT were down 6 percent from the previous week 11 percent from the prior four-week average.  The primary destinations were Honduras (14,600 MT), Mexico (13,800 MT), Guatemala (10,500 MT), El Salvador (9,400 MT), and Costa Rica (3,100 MT).

This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period November 21-27.

Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported       

WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 152,500 MT for 2014/2015  were reported for Iraq (120,000 MT), Japan (24,700 MT), Guatemala (5,400 MT, including 4,400 MT switched from unknown destinations, 1,100 MT switched from El Salvador, and decreases of 500 MT), Taiwan (4,000 MT), and Canada (1,300 MT), according to today's Export Sales Highlights report.  Decreases were reported for unknown destinations (4,400 MT) and El Salvador (1,600 MT). 
Exports of 64,400 MT were down 6 percent from the previous week 11 percent from the prior four-week average.  The primary destinations were Honduras (14,600 MT), Mexico (13,800 MT), Guatemala (10,500 MT), El Salvador (9,400 MT), and Costa Rica (3,100 MT).

This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period November 21-27.

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for December 4

Net Change

January 2015
- $0.020
March 2015
- $0.020
May 2015
- $0.020
July 2015
- $0.020
September 2015
November 2015
January 2016


K-12 Directors Win Free SNA Registration in Rice Federation Contest

Three grand prize winners also get a commercial size rice cooker for their school and a consumer size rice cooker for their home kitchen, plus 50 lbs. of whole grain rice.
Dec 3, 2014

Students at Viewmont Elementary in Hickory, N.C., enjoy the Chicken Burrito Bowl dish that won a runner-up award in the USA Rice Federation Healthy Brown Rice on the Menu Contest.
Three school nutrition professionals won paid registrations to the 2015 School Nutrition Association Annual Conference, as well as a commercial size rice cooker for their school and a consumer size rice cooker for their home kitchens, in the USA Rice Federation's Healthy Brown Rice on the Menu Contest, which focuses exclusively on whole grain brown rice.
The winners in there three categories are...
Breakfast: Roxanne Szalejko, food service director for Northwood Academy Charter School in Philadelphia;
Lunch: Kay Briles, head cook/manager at Greenfield Elementary School in Baldwin, Wisc.;
Rice Bowl: Angie Gaszak, nutrition coordinator for Saint Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.
Szalejko's winning breakfast dish was a Coconut Cream Breakfast Brown Rice that included brown rice, coconut, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and raisins. “I am happy that Northwood has taken an active role in serving healthier school meals," she says. "We take pride in engaging our students to help increase healthy eating habits, which includes more brown rice."
The lunch dish Briles won for was a Turkey Brown Rice Casserole featuring brown rice, ground turkey, red onion, red peppers, frozen peas, cream of chicken soup and slivered almonds. “They really enjoy the brown rice and ask for extra,” Briles says.
The winning rice bowl served by Gaszak was a Chicken Sofrito Rice Bowl combining brown rice, chicken stock, diced tomatoes, thyme, garlic jalapeño peppers, onion and chili powder, finished with red pepper strips and lime juice. “Brown rice is such a versatile whole grain menu item that we can use it in a wide variety of dishes while appealing to our diverse district palates, meeting our nutritional goals, and keeping the food costs in line," Gaszak says. "Our students love our brown rice and it has been one of the most widely accepted whole grain menu items.”
Two runners-up who will each receive one commercial size Aroma rice cooker for their schools were Eileen Matt, manager for Excelsior and Oak Ridge Middle Schools in Marion, Iowa, and Tina Pottorff, supervisor at Viewmont Elementary in Hickory, N.C.
Matt won for her Fiesta Spanish Brown Rice, which uses brown rice, onion, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes and oregano. “We serve brown rice in our Spanish rice recipe as it is low in fat and cholesterol and a good source of protein for our students," she says. "It has been well accepted and they ask when we will be serving it again!”
Pottorff was recognized for her Chicken Burrito Bowl, which combines brown rice, corn, black beans, diced chicken and taco seasoning mix. “Students love the burrito bowl, it reminds them of Chipotle, and it’s just as delicious!," she says. "The teachers love that it looks home cooked and is healthy for you.”
To participate in the contest, K-12 foodservice directors and menu planners must use U.S.-grown brown rice as the central ingredient in one or more recipes on their school menus. Each winner will receive a 50-lb. donation of whole grain rice thanks to USA Rice members InHarvest, Producers Rice Mill, Riceland Foods, Mahatma Rice, SunWest Foods, and Uncle Ben’s.
The Grand Prize winners of the 2014 “Healthy Brown Rice on the Menu Contest” each receive  Grand Prize recipients are:
Rice growers: Government to pay Rs 5,000 per acre subsidy
Thursday, December-04-2014
Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan has said that the government will pay Rs 5,000 per acre as subsidy to the rice growers to compensate them.Talking to media persons here on Wednesday, Bosan said that the country's food security was directly linked with the financial condition of farmers. He said that the prices of food commodities were decreasing apace in the international market and the federal government was committed to ensuring that this phenomenon did not hurt Pakistani farmers.
The federal minister appreciated the role of small farmers in strengthening the country's food security. He said that his ministry was willing to join hands with the development sector non-governmental organisations to deal with the issue of food security and challenges posed by climate change. The minister said that the government was in the process of formulating a policy envisaging measures to reduce the cost of production of different crops. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had constituted a committee under his chairmanship to suggest ways and means to save the crops from diseases and to reduce the cost of per acre production, he added.He said that the policy would be prepared in consultation with the Chief Ministers of the provinces to facilitate the growers.
 News Source  News Collated by

Cambodia's rice export up 1.1 pct in 11 months

Cambodia exported 335,925 tons of milled rice in the first 11 months of 2014, a 1.1 percent rise from 332,099 tons over the same period last year, an official data showed Wednesday.Around 77 companies have brokered the rice from 57 countries and regions around the world, said the data compiled by the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export.Five main buyers are France, Poland, Malaysia, China, and the Netherlands.During the first 11 months of this year, the country exported 61,970 tons to France, 53,150 tons to Poland, 39,220 tons to Malaysia, 30,646 tons to China, and 30,044 tons to the Netherlands.Kim Savuth, vice president of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters, said, "a slight increase in rice exports is due to tough competitions with other countries such as Vietnam and Thailand."He said his Khmer Food Company exported more than 50,000 tons of milled rice during the first 11 months of this year.

FAO Food Price Index Broadly Stable
04 December 2014
GLOBAL - Food and Agriculture Organisation's monthly food price index was stable in November, as vegetable oil and grain prices inched up and offset ongoing declines in dairy prices.The Food Price Index averaged 192.6 points, marking the third consecutive month of stability. The Index now stands 13 points, 6.4 per cent below its level in November 2013."The index appears to have bottomed out with higher probabilities for a rise in its value in coming months" said Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO.After some volatile movements in recent years, FAO's Food Price Index, a trade-weighted index that tracks prices of five major food commodities on international markets, is now around its level of August 2010. The Index aggregates sub-indices for prices of cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, and sugar.
The FAO Dairy Price Index declined 3.4 per cent from October and 29 per cent from a year earlier to average 178.1 points in November, reflecting increased export availability of dairy products along with slower imports to large markets such as China and the Russian Federation.The Sugar Price Index dropped 3.2 per cent from October to average 230 points in November, about eight per cent below their level a year earlier. The recent decline came as rain in Brazil's main sugar producing region alleviated concerns about a prolonged drought in the world's largest sugar exporter.
Some Clouds Over the Northern Winter Wheat Crop
Cereal prices rose significantly for the first time since March as growing conditions for the just-sown wheat crop in the Northern hemisphere appear less than ideal. However, rice prices weakened as newly-harvested supplies arrived to market. The Cereal Price Index averaged 183 points in November, up 2.6 per cent from October, but down 5.8 per cent from a year earlier.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index also rose, increasing 0.7 per cent to 164.9 points - still almost 17 per cent below its level a year earlier - due to lower-than-anticipated global production of sunflower oil and some slowdown of palm oil production in Malaysia and Indonesia. However, soy oil prices were weak, dampening the sub-index's rise.
Meat prices were stable in November, although beef and most other types of meats are at historic highs. The Meat Price Index averaged 210.4 points, in line with its revised value for October while marking a 13.3 per cent increase from November 2013. Mutton and lamb prices moved moderately higher during the month.

TheCropSite News Desk

Commerce Ministry’s strategic plan to be issued this month
BANGKOK, 4 December 2014 (NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce’s strategic plan is expected to be completed within this month, while officials are working towards an effective rice price control measure and the release of currently stocked rice, said the Minister. The Minister of Commerce Gen Chatchai Sarikalya has revealed that the Ministry is now drafting the strategic plan for the year 2015 as a master plan for the Ministry of Commerce.This new strategic plan will include measures to aid in keeping the cost of living down, increase export strategies, improve of the overall work of the Ministry, and measures to maintain the price of the agricultural produces such as rice, sugar cane, tapioca, and longan. The plan is expected to be issued within December. The Commerce Minister has also mentioned about the rice price maintaining measures that the Ministry has already set up a special committee to work specifically on this issue.

He has said that the committee will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to design a price control policy for low price rice entering the market by March 2015. his price control policy will depend on the market's situation. The committee must find a way to fix the rice price in advance for three months with weekly progress reports from the inspector, said the Commerce Minister. Regarding the release of in-stock rice, the Commerce Minister has said that the authorities are working to release the rice as quickly as possible to reduce the damage costs from deterioration.

He has said that the new auction for the in-stock rice is expected to take place this month (December). However, the amount of the rice available for the auction will be further discussed to prevent the effect on the rice price domestically and in international markets.
Source with thanks

VIETNAM PRESS-Rice export contracts hit 6.9 mln T in 2014 - Vietnam Economic Times


Vietnamese companies have signed rice export deals totalling 6.9 million tonnes so far this year, up 1.54 percent from a year earlier, of which around 6 million tonnes have been loaded, based on industry reports, the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reported.The total export volume this year could be between 6.3 million and 6.5 million tonnes, excluding the grain sold across the land border to China, according to the Vietnam Food Association, the report said.---
NOTE: Reuters has not verified this story and does not vouch for its accuracy. (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Anand Basu)

FAO Rice Market Monitor (RMM)

The FAO Rice Market Monitor (RMM) provides an analysis of the most recent developments in the global rice market, including a short-term outlook. Presently, the full document is available only in English but highlights are available in Spanish and French. Monthly updates of selected rice export prices are available on the FAO Rice Price Update.

FAO Rice Market Monitor, October 2014, Volume XVII - Issue No. 3


The 2014 paddy season is at an advanced stage of progress, as the major producers in the Northern Hemisphere are now engaged in the harvesting of their main 2014 crops, with some also preparing the land for their 2014 secondary crops. Since the release of the RMM in July, prospects for global paddy production have worsened substantially, mostly because of erratic weather conditions, including late arrival of rains or lingering droughts, which were often followed by heavy downpours and floods. These, together with a possible manifestation of an El Niño weather anomaly in the coming months, even if a weak intensity, have led to a lower forecast for global rice production in 2014 of 744.4 million tonnes (496.4 million tonnes, milled basis), about 6.5 million tonnes less than predicted in July. Under current expectations, global paddy production would be marginally (0.4 percent) lower than the 2013 estimate, marking a third year of below trend growth.

The disappointing 2014 season results would mostly be linked to the poor performance of crops in Asia, where production is now forecast to fall by close to 5 million tonnes, or 0.7 percent. If confirmed, this would be the first contraction (albeit modest) registered by the region since 2009. Much of it would be associated with a 2.4 percent decline in India, following an irregular pattern of the monsoon. Unfavourable weather conditions are also expected to result in falling output in Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

In the case of Thailand, the decline would also be associated with the February 2014 abolition of the rice pledging scheme, which had guaranteed high prices to farmers since 2011. Although adverse climatic conditions also affected crops in Bangladesh and China, prospects for output in those countries still indicate an increase from last year. On the other hand, favourable growing conditions are anticipated to underpin production in Viet Nam, despite a small, price and policy-driven, reduction in plantings. In Africa, expectations for the season also deteriorated over the past three months, mainly on less optimistic prospects over crops in Madagascar, but also in Egypt and in western African countries. Paddy production in the region is now foreseen to reach 27.6 million tonnes, barely 1 percent more than in 2013, mostly sustained by the recovery in Madagascar.

The outlook remains positive for crops in Eastern African countries, but points to a stagnation of output in Western Africa, amid late and poorly distributed rains, and to an area-led contraction in Egypt. Prospects for crops in Latin America the Caribbean have, likewise, been scaled back since the last issue of the report, mainly on account of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The region’s aggregate paddy production is nonetheless set to increase by a modest 0.6 percent to 28.3 million tonnes.
 Gains in Brazil, Guyana and Paraguay would largely support the expansion, more than making up for declines in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela and in the central part of the continent, where severe water deficits crippled crops. The 2014 season in Europe is expected to progress by 2.8 percent to 4.1 million tonnes, supported by a strong recovery in the Russian Federation and a small rise in the EU. In North America, the United States’ downward revision of plantings curbed the production forecast for the country 9.9 million tonnes, which would nonetheless represent a 15 percent recovery from 2013. In Oceania, the 2014 crop harvested by Australia in the first quarter of the year, although slightly upgraded, is estimated to have fallen 28 percent short of the 2013 excellent outcome, as insufficient water for irrigation constrained plantings.

Strong import demand, combined with ample supplies held by major exporting countries, is expected to boostworld rice trade in 2014 by 7 percent to a 39.7 million tonne record. Imports are predicted to increase in all major geographical regions, especially Asia, where important buyers, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, face the need to reconstitute reserves and to lower food inflation. Among exporters, Thailand is expected to meet much of the trade expansion, largely at the expense of India, which, nonetheless, may retain its position as the prime exporter. The return of competitively priced Thai supplies is also envisaged to negatively impact deliveries by Viet Nam. Australia, China (Mainland), Ecuador, the United States, the Russian Federation and Uruguay are also forecast to export less in 2014.
Despite the disappointing 2014 production outlooks, world rice trade in 2015 is currently forecast to be only 0.7 percent higher year-on-year, at about 40 million tonnes. Indeed, while the relatively poor results of the season would require several countries to step up imports in calendar 2015, part of the production shortfalls is likely to be filled by drawing supplies from national reserves. African countries, especially Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal, would contribute most to the increase in world imports.
Although purchases by Asian nations are anticipated to stay high, amid output setbacks and lingering pressure on domestic prices, they may retreat somewhat compared with 2014, on reduced demand by Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. In Latin America and the Caribbean, weather induced losses are expected to keep demand firm, which would contrast with import cuts in North America, namely the United States, and largely stable requirements in Europe. Among exporters, Thailand is predicted to expand deliveries further in 2015, re-establishing its position as the world’s leading supplier of rice. Shipments from Australia, Cambodia, China (Mainland), Myanmar, Pakistan, the United States and Viet Nam are also anticipated to end above their 2014 levels. On the other hand, the poor 2014 production performance and larger domestic requirements may curb exports by India further over the course of 2015.
FAO has lowered its forecast of world rice utilization in 2014/15 by 2.0 million tonnes to 500.3 million tonnes (milled basis). Nonetheless, the revised figure continues to suggest a 1.7 percent expansion in global rice utilization, largely on account of a 5.2 million tonne increase in world food use, which would support a small gain on a per caput basis to 57.5 kg in 2014/15. Quantities destined to seed, non-industrial uses and post-harvest losses are also set to rise.

FAO currently forecasts global rice carryovers in 2015 at 177.7 million tonnes (milled basis), which is some 2.0 million tonnes less than reported in the July issue of the RMM. The revision mainly mirrors expectations of sharper draw-downs in India, due to the deteriorated production outlook for the country, and in Thailand, based on more buoyant export prospects. At 177.7 million tonnes, world rice inventories in 2015 would stand 2 percent below the historical highs recorded in 2014, marking the first world carry-over contraction to occur in a decade. Taking into account projected utilization levels, this would position the global stocks-to-use ratio at 34.8 percent in 2014/15, down from an estimated 36.3 percent a year earlier, but higher than a five-year average of 33.3 percent. Reflecting expectations of sizeable draw downs in India and Thailand, the five major rice exporters are expected to trim their inventories by 8 percent to 44.6 million tonnes in 2015, resulting in the stock-to-disappearance ratio dipping from 27.7 percent in 2013/14 to 25.1 percent in 2014/15.

Following two months of steady gains, the FAO All Rice Price Index (2002-2004=100) rose by 1 percent in August to an average of 242 points, underpinned by seasonal tightness and strong import demand. This was particularly the case in the Indica and Aromatica segments, which accounted for all of the month’s strengthening, while the Japonica Index stabilized around a high value of 263 points. The price firmness was sustained until September, when newly harvested crops tended to weigh on Indica quotations.
Looking ahead, international rice prices could come under increasing downward pressure from the progress of main-crop harvests in northern hemisphere countries. Indeed, concerns that lower production in India, Pakistan and Thailand, will be supportive of international quotations are attenuated by prospects of still above-average harvests in these countries, as well as abundant inventories amassed through years of uninterrupted output gains. Against this backdrop, policies will continue playing a particularly influential role, especially those concerning the disposal of stocks in key global suppliers.

Wheat People vs. Rice People

CORRECTED-S.Korea buys 90 T of rice for January

Thu Dec 4, 2014 6:44am GMT

 (Corrects spelling of Korea Agro in paragraph 1)
    By Meeyoung Cho
    Dec 4 (Reuters) - South Korea bought 90 tonnes of
non-glutinous rice of Thai origin for January arrival via a
tender closed on Nov. 24, the state-run Korea Agro-fisheries &
Food Trade said on its website (
    Details of the purchases are as follows:
    TONNES     GRAIN TYPE       SUPPLIER            PRICE($/T)  
        90     Milled Long      Hanwha Corp         $1,045.00  
    Arrival for the products is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2015 to
the port of Busan. 
    * Note: The agency sought U.S. No. 1 products.
 (Reporting By Brian Kim; Editing by Sunil Nair)

Extreme weather hurts production of Filipino rice farmers

December 3, 2014
Countries heavily reliant on agriculture are already feeling the effects of extreme weather. According to a United Nations report the poor will be hit the hardest. Filipino farmers are among the hardest hit. CCTV America’s Barnaby Lo reported this story.For more than four decades now, 57-year old Guillermo Joson has been toiling in the vast plains of the northern Philippine province of Nueva Ecija.

 This region is often referred to as the country’s rice granary. But Joson says the past few years have been difficult.“In recent years, typhoons seem to come just when we are about to harvest. When they do, they can destroy a huge portion of what we’ve planted,” he said.And if it isn’t the deluge of water, it’s the lack of it.  El Niño- a weather pattern characterized by a dry spell may start taking its toll on Filipino farmers soon. It’s extreme weather that is being attributed, at least in part, to climate change.

Scientists say the earth’s temperature has increased by almost one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. Two more degrees and it could have devastating effects, especially on agriculture. In the Philippines, this could mean an estimated 10-15 percent decrease in crop production for every increase of one degree Celsius.“That is based on a threshold of 34, 35 degrees. And every degree above this threshold will increase sterility of rice by 10-15 percent. Sterility means the grains will be produced but they are empty,” Dr.Bjorn Ole Sander from the International Rice Research Institute said.
And as the law of supply and demand dictates, a drop in food production could drive up food prices, which in turn could mean less food on the table for those who cannot afford and for farmers, a loss in income. “Rice is our only source of income so if we are not able to harvest enough, we don’t earn enough, and our families suffer,” Joson said.To help farmers cope with the effects of climate change, the International Rice Research Institute has been developing climate-adaptive varieties of rice as well as new irrigation techniques.


Why Are Some Cultures More Individualistic Than Others?

CreditBratislav Milenkovic

AMERICANS and Europeans stand out from the rest of the world for our sense of ourselves as individuals. We like to think of ourselves as unique, autonomous, self-motivated, self-made. As the anthropologist Clifford Geertzobserved, this is a peculiar idea. People in the rest of the world are more likely to understand themselves as interwoven with other people — as interdependent, not independent. In such social worlds, your goal is to fit in and adjust yourself to others, not to stand out. People imagine themselves as part of a larger whole — threads in a web, not lone horsemen on the frontier. In America, we say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In Japan, people say that the nail that stands up gets hammered down.
These are broad brush strokes, but the research demonstrating the differences is remarkably robust and it shows that they have far-reaching consequences. The social psychologist Richard E. Nisbett and his colleagues found that these different orientations toward independence and interdependence affected cognitive processing. For example, Americans are more likely to ignore the context, and Asians to attend to it. Show an image of a large fish swimming among other fish and seaweed fronds, and the Americans will remember the single central fish first. That’s what sticks in their minds. Japanese viewers will begin their recall with the background. They’ll also remember more about the seaweed and other objects in the scene.
Another social psychologist, Hazel Rose Markus, asked people arriving at San Francisco International Airport to fill out a survey and offered them a handful of pens to use, for example four orange and one green; those of European descent more often chose the one pen that stood out, while the Asians chose the one more like the others.
Dr. Markus and her colleagues found that these differences could affect health. Negative affect — feeling bad about yourself — has big, persistent consequences for your body if you are a Westerner. Those effects are less powerful if you are Japanese, possibly because the Japanese are more likely to attribute the feelings to their larger situation and not to blame themselves.There’s some truth to the modernization hypothesis — that as social worlds become wealthier, they also become more individualistic — but it does not explain the persistent interdependent style of Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
In May, the journal Science published a study, led by a young University of Virginia psychologist, Thomas Talhelm, that ascribed these different orientations to the social worlds created by wheat farming and rice farming. Rice is a finicky crop. Because rice paddies need standing water, they require complex irrigation systems that have to be built and drained each year. One farmer’s water use affects his neighbor’s yield. A community of rice farmers needs to work together in tightly integrated ways.
Not wheat farmers. Wheat needs only rainfall, not irrigation. To plant and harvest it takes half as much work as rice does, and substantially less coordination and cooperation. And historically, Europeans have been wheat farmers and Asians have grown rice.
I read this column purely as entertainment. Has no real value. What is next ? how eating butter vs margarine develops your social skills...


Luhrmann has some interesting thoughts here, but the assumption seems to be that the interdependence observed in Asian cultures arose by...


So do wheat and rice people behave in individualist or collectivist ways because they primarily eat wheat or rice, or do they cultivate...
Their test case was China, where the Yangtze River divides northern wheat growers from southern rice growers. The researchers gave Han Chinese from these different regions a series of tasks. They asked, for example, which two of these three belonged together: a bus, a train and train tracks? More analytical, context-insensitive thinkers (the wheat growers) paired the bus and train, because they belong to the same abstract category. More holistic, context-sensitive thinkers (the rice growers) paired the train and train tracks, because they work together.
Asked to draw their social networks, wheat-region subjects drew themselves larger than they drew their friends; subjects from rice-growing regions drew their friends larger than themselves. Asked to describe how they’d behave if a friend caused them to lose money in a business, subjects from the rice region punished their friends less than subjects from the wheat region did. Those in the wheat provinces held more patents; those in the rice provinces had a lower rate of divorce.
I write this from Silicon Valley, where there is little rice. The local wisdom is that all you need is a garage, a good idea and energy, and you can found a company that will change the world. The bold visions presented by entrepreneurs are breathtaking in their optimism, but they hold little space for elders, for longstanding institutions, and for the deep roots of community and interconnection.
Nor is there much rice within the Tea Party. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, declared recently that all a man needed was a horse, a gun and the open land, and he could conquer the world.Wheat doesn’t grow everywhere. Start-ups won’t solve all our problems. A lone cowboy isn’t much good in the aftermath of a Hurricane Katrina. As we enter a season in which the values of do-it-yourself individualism are likely to dominate our Congress, it is worth remembering that this way of thinking might just be the product of the way our forefathers grew their food and not a fundamental truth about the way that all humans flourish.
T.M. Luhrmann is a professor of anthropology at Stanford and a contributing opinion writer.
A version of this op-ed appears in print on December 4, 2014, on page A31 of the New York edition with the headline: Wheat People vs. Rice People. | |

Pennsylvania's Saffron Belt

Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Ruth Zimmerman Martin gets ready to add another three saffron stamens to the drying plates of saffron in her Lititz home

Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
LITITZ, Lancaster County -- Squinty-eyed moles aren’t the only thing Ruth Zimmerman Martin is mindful of when checking a swath of slender purple blossoms in this quaint little town settled byPennsylvania Germans in the 1720s.
Saffron facts
Thanks to America’s changing demographics, consumption ofspices in the U.S. is way up in recent years. That includes saffron, which is used in Asianand Mediterranean cookingalong with Indian and European cuisine.
“There are a lot of educated chefs in American kitchens” who appreciate its woody aroma, distinctive hay-like flavor and superb coloring, says Aziz Osmani, co-owner of Kalustyan's, an international food market in New York City. It turns foods a luminous yellow-orange color. 
Often added to rice dishes, saffron can also be used inbaked goods, curries, meatdishes, soups and confections. 
Spanish saffron may be the best known saffron, but the highest-quality spice, according to Mr. Osmani, actually comes fromKashmir and Iran, where 90 percent of the world’s saffron is produced. It’s more expensive, but it’s also a deeper red, since every bit of the yellow styles is removed, which gives it a more intense flavor.
“So it’s actually cheaper in the long run, because you use much less,” he says. Lower-grade saffron has more of the flavorless yellow style in it. When buying, look for evenly colored, vivid red or deep orange threads. Names to look for are coupe, superior, La Mancha, or Rio.
If you can taste the saffron in a dish, you've added too much. A good rule of thumb is to use about three strands a person.  A small "pinch" is about 20 medium saffron threads; a medium pinch has about 35, while a large pinch is about 50.
The spice should be dry and brittle to the touch and never smell musty. Whatever the country of origin, a little saffron usually goes a long way; most recipes only call for a pinch or less. Stored properly in an airtight container away from heat, light and humidity, it will last for years.
Expect to pay anywhere from around $4 for a .4 grams of Badia Spanish saffron at Giant Eagle, to $7.99 for a 1-gram packet of Krokas Kozanis Greek saffron at PennsylvaniaMacaroni Co., to $142 for a 1/4-ounce jar of Saffron Kashmir at Penzeys. You also sometimes can find it pretty cheap at discount stores such as Marshall’s. Spice giant McCormick also sells saffron in larger grocery stores. 
You can buy saffron in powdered form, but buyer beware: Not only does it lose its flavor more easily than threads, it can easily be adulterated or misrepresented with lesser-quality spices such as turmeric,paprika and marigold leaves.
To heighten the color and flavor of saffron filaments, steep crushed strands in a little hot water. Add strands and water to recipe. You also can toast it in a small skillet over medium heat for about a minute, then crumble it into the dish with your fingers.
All that separates the 73-year-old Mennonite from traffic whipping past her roadside garden is a few feet of grass and a couple of creosote-stained railroad ties. One false step and -- well, she might not ever again see her 18 grandchildren.When you’re growing something as exquisite -- and unexpected -- as she has for decades, though, the risk just might be worth it.
Burrowed into the triangle-shaped bed are 743 Crocus sativuscorms (bulbs) that in the late October sun have sprouted into thin, grass-like leaves interspersed with tiny lilac flowers. Reaching down, Mrs. Martin picks one of the delicate blooms and spreads open the petals. Inside are three bright-red stigma that, when gently plucked and laid on a paper towel in her dining room, will dry into the world’s most expensive spice: Saffron.
Famous for giving paella, bouillabaisse, biryani and risottotheir distinct flavor and bright-yellow color, saffron grows best in Mediterranean-type climates with cool, moist winters and dry, hot summers – think Spain, Greece, Italy, India and Iran. So the fact Mrs. Martin will eventually harvest some 5,000 flowers here in Lancaster County, in a handful of gardens and flowerbeds tucked alongside her modest dawdi (retirement) house, could seem an anomaly. 

But no, she’s got company. A few miles down the road near Millbach, Lebanon County, retired doctor Robert Kline and his daughter Kendra Heck are deep into a saffron harvest, too. 
For more than a week now, they’ve been picking the dainty flowers from home gardens  --backbreaking work that involves gathering the blossoms early in the morning before the sun gets too hot, and using their thumbs to painstakingly separate the red stigmas from the pale-yellow styles to be dried. Each bloom lasts just a few days.
“My son, who picks for me, finally went on strike one day because it’s so labor-intensive,” says Ms. Heck, who with her father has harvested, dried and stored handfuls of the spice over the years -- no small feat considering there are 200 to 300 threads per gram, or roughly 80,000 flowers per pound of spice.  “But it’s part of the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.”

Every two to three years the corms have to be unearthed so the smaller ones --  Mrs. Martin calls them “itsy-bitsys” -- can be weeded out. Though in reality, “you can never have too many,” says Dr. Kline, who started his saffron-growing career 40 years ago with 12 bulbs his mother, Myrl Mann, inherited from her grandmother and passed along before she died. Each saffron corm usually produces between one and three flowers in a season, and the plant quickly proliferates. This year, for the first time in four decades, the Klines’ crop of more than 1,000 saffron plants included a rare albino blossom.Native to southwest Asian and first cultivated in Greece more than 3,000 years ago, saffron has a long and storied history. It got a shout-out in the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon, written in about 1000 B.C., and the pungent spice also decorated Minoan palace frescoes in 1500-1600 B.C. Twenty-five centuries ago, it was used to color the saffron robes worn by Theravada monks and nuns. Around 900 A.D., saffron traveled with Moorish traders into Spain, which quickly became a center for saffron production. By the Age of Discovery, people grew it all over Western Europe. 

Safferich or safran, as it is known among Pennsylvania Germans, was used by Swiss cooks long before before they made Penns Woods their home more than 200 years ago. Not only did the thread-like filaments infuse food with a deep-yellow color (giving the illusion of lots of eggs) but it also gave those dishes a wonderfully distinct flavor. When they boarded ships bound for their new life in America, they brought the little bulbs with them.

The settlers who became known in the late 1600s as the Pennsylvania Dutch weren’t really Dutch, of course, butGerman-speaking Europeans of German and Swiss heritage. Nor were they strictly Amish; in addition to Lutherans, the Anabaptist-related “plain” communities who immigrated here to avoid religious persecution included Mennonites and Brethern, a 300-year-old Christian denomination that stresses peace, justice and holy, simple living.

Despite varied backgrounds and an original settlement that fanned out over 30 counties, “the culture quickly developed a common language and common characteristics in its cookery,” writes food historian William Woys Weaver in “Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking.” Dumplings and noodles were a common denominator. But a few also hung on to distinctive regional foods and foodways along with their dialects.

Among a small group of Pennsylvania Dutch in Lebanon, Lancaster and York counties, saffron was especially popular in flavoring poultry and stuffing dishes. It also ended up in soup,gravy, noodles, chicken potpie and “filling,” a dressed-up version of mashed potatoes.The exotic spice also finds its way into a rich, labor-intensivestreuselkuchen known as Schwenkfelder cake.Such was saffron’s popularity that in May 1759, a Jewish peddler by the name of Benjamin Nathanran an ad in Sower’s German-language newspaper advertising the spice for sale along with linens, glass and paint at his general store in Heidelberg, just north of Lancaster. Locals also would have found saffron for sale at Samuel Rex’s store in nearby Shaefferstown.Some cooks loved the tiny crocus so much as to be indiscriminate, notes Diane Wenger, an associate professor of history at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, who has studied saffron use among Pennsylvania Germans. Their tendency to throw saffron into all manner of dishes earned them them a derisive nickname -- Geeldeitsch, or Yellow Dutch.

It was German Jews in Pennsylvania, in fact, who took control of the Caribbean saffron trade from Spain and England in the 1790s, notes Dr. Kline, whose expertise  on Pennsylvania Dutch culture and heritage extends to open-hearth cooking, baking and gardening. Pennsylvania wasn’t the most hospitable climate for saffron-growing, but Pennsylvania Germans proved to have something of a green thumb for coaxing the fast-spreading crocuses to life each fall. So much so, that in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, the spice was a commodity on the Philadelphia exchange, with prices equal to those of gold. Even today, it can retail for as much as $10,000 a pound.By the 20th century, though, saffron was no longer being grown on a large scale in Pennsylvania, and was instead relegated to the kitchen gardens of those whose parents and grandparents had loved it. Today, as in the rest of the country, most of the spice sold in and around Lancaster is imported from Spain or Iran.“My mother’s mother, who lived six miles up the road in Schaefferstown, used it all the time,” says Dr. Kline. “But my father’s mother never used it, even though they came to the U.S. at the same time.”  

By growing and cooking with it -- corn soup and stuffing are his favorites --  and getting his children to do it also, he’s keeping that age-old tradition within Pennsylvania’s narrow “saffron belt”  alive.Mrs. Martin, conversely, became a devoted grower quite by chance. Though she was familiar enough with the spice -- it’s what gives Pennsylvania Dutch noodles and chicken potpie their unique flavor and yellow color -- it never crossed the mother of seven’s mind to grow it. Then 30 years ago, after moving some furniture for a neighbor, her late husband, Lloyd, was gifted 20 saffron bulbs. On a whim, she planted them in front of their dairy barn.

The first year, the plants were beautiful. The second, not so much. “Too squishy,” she recalls with a shake of the head.Turns out, the retired nurse had planted the itsy-bitsys too shallow in the farm’s soggy soil. A neighbor advised her to dig up the bulbs and start over. Mrs. Martin had a better idea: Add depth with a thick bed of cow manure mixed with sawdust.  “And that put me on the map,” she says with a cheerful smile. “You never saw such growth! I couldn’t believe it.”So much so, that some days during the late-fall harvest, upwards of 1,000 flowers end up in the squat wicker basket she keeps just for this purpose. It takes her about 25 minutes to pick them. 

She’s also figured a way to deal with those pesky moles who find the corms so delicious. She plants hot chili peppers on the edges of her gardens, along with castor-bean plants and winter onions. Bunnies, who love to chew the grassy crocus leaves to the nub, have to constantly be shooed away.“If a rabbit finds it, he never forgets it,” she says, sighing. She advises would-be growers to mulch with manure instead of bark and keep the soil around the crocus corms loose and aerated. Also, don’t disturb the bright-green winter growth. As far as cooking, Mrs. Martin makes a mean saffron cookie in addition to the usual suspects. Following tradition, she also likes to steep tea with the delicate red strands to help break up a cold or ward off stomach upsets; long used for medicinal and aphrodisiac purposes (Cleopatra is said to have bathed in it), saffron tea in the 19th century in Lancaster County was used to “bring out” themeasles when someone showed early symptom of having the disease, noted Professor H.H. M. Bowman in a 1953 edition of “The Pennsylvania Dutchman.”

 “It’s very good for the pancreas,” says Mrs. Martin, which is why she often tucks tiny packets into greeting cards and gifts them to shut-ins. She also sells some of the excess for $3 a packet at Forgotten Seasons, her daughter Kathy’s bed-and-breakfast in Lititz. 
“It’s a wonderful hobby,” she says.
Saffron Corn Soup
PG tested
A bit on the tangy side. You can find dried limes (which sort of  look like walnuts)  at Pita Land in Brookline. 
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 yellow onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 large ears corn, shucked
3 dried limes, soaked in hot water to cover for 15 minutes
6 cups chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tablespoon water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons finely squeezed lemon juice
Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat and cook onions for about 10 minutes, until they start to brown. Add turmeric and corn. Pierce the limes with knife or fork and add to the pot along with their soaking water. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until corn is just tender.
Squeeze the limes against the side of pot with a long spoon to extract their concentrated flavor before removing them from the soup. Blend half of the soup in a blender, then return to the pot. Add saffron and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice to taste, and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- “The New Persian Kitchen” by Louis Shafia (Ten Speed, 2013, $24.99)
Spanish Chicken
PG tested
The contrast of sweet onions and briny olives are actually quite harmonious in this simple, skillet chicken dish.  
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cayenne
3- to 3½-pound fryer chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon saffron
8 cups julienned onions (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup Moroccan olives
1 cup chicken stock
1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Seeds from 1 pomegranate, for serving (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
In small bowl, mix together the salt and cayenne and season chicken pieces with mixture. In large cast-iron skillet, heat oil until smoking. Brown chicken pieces, cooking them for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate as it is cooked.
Add flour, saffron and onions to skillet. Add any remaining salt and cayenne mixture. Cook, stirring continuously, to wilt and brown the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned particles, about 10 minutes. Add chicken pieces and olives. Continue stirring, again scraping the bottom of pot to loosen any browned particles, and cook for about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
Place on a swanky platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, pomegranate seeds and scallions, if using.
Serves 4.
-- “America -- Farm to Table” by Mario Batali (Grand Central, Oct. 2014, $35)
Oven-Baked Saffron Rice
PG tested
A beautiful and savory side dish. Perfect with baked or grilled chicken.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Small pinch saffron threads
2 cups Carolina Gold or Carolina extra-long-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3½ cups chicken stock or broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof saucepan, melt butter. Add onion, bay leaf and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add lemon juice, coriander and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer over moderately high heat until nearly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in stock and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
Cover the saucepan and bake the rice for 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Let stand for 15 minutes, fluff with fork and serve.
Serves 8.
-- Food & Wine, Oct. 2014
Noodle Paella
PG tested
Paella is traditionally made with rice. This version combines spaghetti with chicken and seafood. My dad loved it.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 8-ounce bottles clam juice
15-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
3 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
12 small clams, such as Manila, scrubbed
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
In 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink on outside, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to medium bowl.
Add fennel, bell pepper, onion and garlic to pan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add clam juice, tomatoes with their juices, bay leaves, paprika, saffron and cayenne pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 9 minutes.
Return chicken to pan. Bring sauce to a simmer. Add remaining salt and pepper. Add clams and shrimp. Cover and cook until clams open, the shrimp are pink and cooked through and the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams along with bay leaves. 
Mix in parsley and serve.
Serves 6.
-- “Giada’s Feel Good Food” by Giada De Laurentiis (Clarkson Potter, 2013, $32.50)
Chicken Potpie
PG tested
This hearty noodle stew is a Pennsylvania Dutch classic. It more reminiscent of chicken and biscuits than the pastry-topped pies made famous by Swanson. If you’re afraid to make homemade noodles, don’t be -- they’re easy! But you also can substitute flat pot pie egg noodles. 
For filling
4- to 5-pound stewing chicken
3 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup cut celery
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut
4 small onions, quartered
1/4 cup chopped parsley
For noodles
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lard (I used butter)
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup water
Cook chicken in 3 quarts water with salt, pepper, saffron and celery for several hours, until it is tender. Remove chicken, debone it and set aside to cool. Add potatoes and onions to broth, and cook for 15 minutes, until fork-tender.
While potatoes are cooking, make potpie noodles. Combine dry ingredients. Cut the lard into the flour mixture until the pieces are very fine. Lightly stir in the beaten egg and water. Roll out very thin on a floured board. Cut into 2-inch squares with knife or pastry wheel. Don’t aim for perfection!
Shred chicken, or cut into large chunks. Drop potpie squares one by one into boiling broth with potatoes. Reduce heat, and cook over a low boil for about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add chicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in individual bowls, spinkled with chopped parsley.
Serves 6. 
-- Adapted from “The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking” by Edna Eby Heller (Doubleday, 1968)
Lamb Biryani
PG tested
If you make individual servings of biryani in smaller ovenproof dishes, slightly lessen the cooking time. Note: the more chiles you use, the spicier the dish. Mine was red hot. 
1/2 cup warmed milk
1 teaspoon saffron strands
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 to 4 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chiles, stems removed
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup plain yogurt
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced into rings
1/2 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt, divided
2 cups uncooked white or brown basmati rice, washed
1/4 cup golden raisins
Water to cover
In small mixing bowl, combine warmed milk and saffron strands and set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
In bowl of food processor, grind ginger, garlic, fresh chiles, cilantro and mint leaves into smooth paste. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Add garam masala, red chile powder, turmeric and yogurt and stir until well combined.
Slowly fold lamb into yogurt mixture and stir gently until all pieces are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
In heavy-bottomed, 4-quart saute pan over medium-high heat, warm 1/4 cup of the oil. Add onions and 3 pinches salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until onions are browned. Using slotted spoon, transfer onions to a plate and leave oil behind in saute pan. Raise heat to medium-high and warm remaining 2 tablespoon of oil. Using tongs, carefully add marinated lamb to saute pan, leaving marinade behind in bowl. Reserve it -- you’ll use it later. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
Reduce heat to low and add reserved marinade and all but 2 tablespoons onions to saute pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Set oven rack at second-from-top position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In separate medium stockpot over medium-high heat, combine rice, raisins and water to cover rice by 2 inches and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 7 minutes. If using brown rice, cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside. 
Transfer lamb mixture to a 2-quart ovenproof casserole dish and layer rice over lamb. Tightly pack rice in dish and garnish with reserved browned onions. Pour bowl of saffron and milk over the casserole. Cover dish with its lid or tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- “Indian for Everyone” by Anupy Singla (Surry Books, 2014, $35)
Orange and Saffron Olive Oil Bread
PG tested
This vegan bread dough is soft and easy to manipulate, ”so you can give it any shape you like,“ Aglaia Kremezi writes in ”Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.“ It was inspired by a traditional wedding bread from Greece. 
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant active-dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground mahlep or cardamom
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, diluted in 1/4 cup boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes
1 tangerine, unpeeled, washed, dried and quartered to remove any pips
Juice 1 orange
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
For brushing the breads
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine flours, yeast, salt and mahlep; pulse to blend and aerate.
In blender, combine saffron water, tangerine, orange juice, sugar, almond butter and olive oil. Pulse, periodically scraping down the sides with a spatula, to get a smooth pulp.
With motor of mixer running, pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and work mixture on low speed for a couple of minutes, adding about 1 1/2 cups water or as needed to form a dough. work dough for about 5 minutes on medium-low to make a soft dough that “cleans” the sides of the bowl.
Oil a large bowl and piece of plastic warp. Turn out dough onto your work surface and shape it into a ball. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with the oiled plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Turn out dough and halve it, using one piece to make the stuffed bread. If you like, shape both pieces of dough to fit pans lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic warp and let rise again for 35 to 40 minutes, until almost doubled in size.
At least 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees,
If you like, dilute the sugar in the orange juice and brush the tops of breads with the mixture just before putting them in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees, and continue baking for 20 minutes (or more, depending on size of pan), until golden brown in color and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. You may need to turn and change the position of the loaves halfway through baking to make sure they color evenly.
Let cool completely on wire rack before cutting to serve.
Makes 2 loaves. 
-- “Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts” by Aglaia Kremezi (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; 2014; $25)
Poached Pears in Saffron Syrup
PG tested
An elegant, absolutely beautiful dessert. 
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
Heaping 3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 pears, peeled 
Put vanilla bean, saffron threads, sugar, lemon zest and 2 cups water in a large saucepan and mix together well. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Add pears and cook, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender when tested with a metal skewer. Turn pears over with a slotted spoon halfway through cooking. Once cooked, remove from syrup with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cover to keep warm.
Allow the saffron syrup to come to a boil and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, or until syrup had reduced by half and thickened slightly (mine took about 15 minutes). Serve pears with the sauce spooned over and some whipped cream on the side, if desired.
Serves 4.
-- “The Spice Bible” by Jane Lawson (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95)
Saffron Cookies
PG tasted
Perfect for dunking.
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
1 tablespoon water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
In small saucer, steep saffron in water. Set aside. Cream butter. Add sugar, beating well. Add egg, beat until thoroughly blended. Sift dry ingredients. Stir into creamed mixture. Add saffron water. Chill until firm enough to handle. Roll into balls, flatten with fork. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes.
Yields 3 dozen cookies
-- Ruth Martin, Lititz

Gretchen McKay:, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.
Source with thanks: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

New Tallest Poppy location offers expanded menu, extended hours

Posted: 12/4/2014 3:00 AM | Comments: 2 | Last Modified: 12/4/2014 9:39 AM | Updates
If you loved The Tallest Poppy on Main Street, you'll probably love this new and more ambitious incarnation. It's much roomier than the original, but has the same casual, quirky charm, right down to the mismatched tables and chairs. That extra space also offers more room for art -- two enormous blue abstract paintings by Sharon Johnson hanging on opposite walls, two smaller abstracts by Shawna Conner and -- tucked into a corner-- Jade Harper's lovely small prints of poppies. Even the ceiling is a striking composition of Mondrian-like squares.
Owner Talia Syrie has a new partner in this location -- mixologist Steve Ackerman -- and between them they have created an engaging addition to the neighbourhood. But although the vibe may be Wolseley, the appeal is city-wide -- the lineups by 10 a.m. for the weekend brunches can't all be from the immediate area, any more than they were on Main Street. But unlike those huge family-style breakfasts, these are all la carte (about which more later).

The Tallest Poppy
§  103 Sherbrook St. (Sherbrook Inn)
§  204-219-8777
§  Licensed
§  Wheelchair access
§  Four stars out of five
Syrie has also done what her fans have always wanted her to do. She has added dinners as well -- solid renditions of down-home comfort foods prepared with care and integrity. Some have their roots in the American south, or Harlem; others might have come from your baba's kitchen.I loved everything I had here, but if forced to name a personal favourite it might be the terrific buttermilk-marinated fried chicken-- boneless, but still juicy and flavourful under a puffed up, crackling-crunchy flour coating. At dinner it comes with mashed potatoes, collard greens dotted with bits of smoked pork, and a light gravy; alternately, you can have it in a sandwich at lunch, or at breakfast paired with wonderful waffles -- the real Belgian thing, prepared by Sebastian, a real Belgian.

Tender, slow-cooked brisket also does triple duty -- as a dinner entrée with basmati rice pilaf punctuated by grains of wild rice; in a luncheon sandwich with tomatoes and horseradish aioli; and at breakfast, transformed into chicken fried steak and served with eggs, hash browns and toast. The bison meat loaf is available at dinner only, two savoury slabs with mashed potatoes, gravy and creamed spinach. The slow-roasted, smoked country ham in a light white wine sauce spiked by orange bitters is also a dinner-only entrée, paired with molasses-flavoured 24-hour baked beans and a crunchy mayo-dressed coleslaw.

Most entrées cost from $12.25 to $15.25, including such other possibilities as sausage and bean stew with rice; tamale pie with vegetarian chili baked under cornbread; and tofu biscuit stew. There are also two burgers -- one of bison, beef and pork ($9.25), the other of black beans, chickpeas and vegetables ($8.95), both with ripple chips and pickles -- as well as sides of cauliflower in cheese sauce, fries, poutine and the excellent house-made challah with poppy spread and melted Swiss cheese ($3.75 to $6.95).

The lunch menu is fairly short, consisting of a few sandwiches, two burgers and two soups (but why not have the chicken with matzo balls on the dinner menu, too?). Breakfasts, though, are wide-ranging and are served all day, from 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. Sunday (most $5.25 to $12.95).

Along with the chicken with waffles and chicken fried steak, there's the open-face, puffy Poppy Omelette topped by a mixture of meats or veggies, or both, and the double-stuffed baked potato with bacon, cheese, chives and a fried egg. Generally I just tolerate kale, but I really enjoyed it in the Kale Breakfast sautéed with bacon, mushrooms, onions and mashed potatoes, and topped by two poached eggs.

Of course there are eggs with meat and hash browns, or with bacon and a salad, or tucked with bacon into a sandwich. Also challah French toast, crispy corn tortillas baked in salsa with eggs and sheep's feta, and such extras as bacon, house-made sausage, fluffy cornbread, guacamole and -- if they don't run out of them -- blintzes.Two dishes I probably wouldn't have ordered except in the line of duty, I'm now in love with. Who would have thought mundane-sounding buttermilk biscuits with gravy could be so addictive? Or that Red River Cereal -- which I've often found resistible -- could turn out to be the buttery, creamy and soul-satisfying bowlful I wish I could have every morning?

Unlike the former Poppy, this one serves alcohol. There are 12 beers, and a short but decent wine list, with most available by the glass -- among them, a delightful Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava ($6 to $8). Also, in keeping with the trend, some intriguing cocktails (all $8) created by Ackerman, who has several years of experience in New York bars behind him. His Two-Tone Cesar (sic) is a fabulous variation of the classic caesar, with Worcestershire and Texas Pete hot sauce, topped by a blend of tomatillos, mild poblano peppers and cilantro.
Desserts are few and vary daily ($5.25 to $5.75). There's usually a brownie and always two kinds of pie -- delicious buttermilk filling in a fabulous short crust in our case. Service is great, and the enthusiastic young staff are at least partly responsible for the Poppy's infectiously happy buzz.

Food: A whole lot of taste in Montreal’s whole-grain scene

Published on: December 4, 2014Last Updated: December 4, 2014 9:54 AM EST

A whole-grain option at Zyng on St-Denis St.
Photo courtesy of Zyng
I grew up in a household where you couldn’t find white bread if you had a flashlight and an enriched wheat metal detector. Between whole grain’s health benefits (its high fibre content may reduce the risk of heart disease, to name one) and dense texture, I never felt like I was missing out. Finding it at restaurants often posed a challenge, but my search ends here. These establishments offer gluten’s lesser of two evils in a way that’s not just edible, but surprisingly tasty.
Vegetarian soup, Zyng Asian Grill
I consider pho the Asian rendition of chicken soup as the Jewish penicillin. It’s labelled a vegetarian soup since the option of adding Japanese soba, a heart-healthy fibrous and perfectly nutty buckwheat noodle, strays from the traditional pho recipe of rice noodles, but it has the signature subtle citrusy broth. If you opt for buckwheat, a naturally gluten-free grain derived from a leaf as opposed to the grass family, you’ll get a host of nutritional benefits along with a thicker, more satiating noodle. This soup is chock full of veggies (broccoli, shitake mushrooms, corn and scallions) steamed enough but not so much that they lose their nutrients; it’s MSG-free and instead uses antioxidant-rich cilantro as the star flavour, and the tofu is steamed to perfection.
1478 St-Denis St.,

Sweet potato burrito at Burritoville.
Photo courtesy of Burritoville
Sweet potato burrito, Burritoville
A burrito’s allure lies not only in its ability to cradle heaps of food, but in the versatile ways in which it can be wrapped. Authentic Mexican cuisine uses either flour or corn tortillas, but in an effort to cater to our collective health consciousness, Burritoville offers a whole-wheat option for its burritos and quesadillas. Try the organic sweet potato burrito with black beans, apple, sautéed onion, pico de gallo, cheese, and in case you needed more convincing this dish is a fibre bomb – brown basmati rice, a more nutrient-dense and aromatic version of its white counterpart.
2055 Bishop St.,

Santa Clara pizza at Al Dente.
Photo courtesy of Al Dente
Santa Clara pizza, Al Dente
Whole-wheat pizza crust has a tendency to taste chalky, and not in the intentional wood-oven charred way. This is far from the case at Al Dente, where the whole-wheat pasta lives up to the restaurant’s name, and the basil, oregano and black pepper-laden pizza crust is fluffy to a fault. Opt for a piping hot whole-wheat Santa Clara that’s equal parts decadent and healthy. It’s topped with broccoli, roasted red pepper, a blend of pesto and tomato sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese and fresh tomatoes. Only available on the table d’hôte menu.
5768 Monkland Ave.,
Whole-wheat cheese bagel, Nosherz
Versatility is at the foundation of the cheese bagel’s appeal. Dipped in sour cream as a snack or enjoyed on its own for dessert, it’s a pastry that’s been reinvented in a myriad of ways, but this version is a health-nut crowd pleaser. Along with eight other varieties (chocolate, cherry, blueberry, etc.), Nosherz offers a whole-wheat puff pastry version, with rock sugar by special order, since most customers opting for whole wheat tend to avoid sugar too. It’s filled with the standard baker’s cheese/sweetened ricotta blend, but it also makes a completely sugar-free cheese bagel for those with dietetic concerns using Splenda. They’re sold individually or in batches. “We have regulars. Whatever we make [of whole-wheat cheese bagels], we sell,” says owner Robert Vineberg. Why whole wheat? “Changing times. People have different concerns. As trends change you try to move with them.”
5800 Westminster Ave.,