How is Tartana Rice TRANSPLANTED by hand?
In May, rice is sown in the “tancats” of the Albufera de Valencia. Before doing this, the seed has to be soaked in water a for a couple of days. Why do we do this? So that it gains weight and falls to the soil when it is distributed over the field; Otherwise, it would remain floating in the water of the flooded plots, and get lost. In addition, during soaking, the germination of the seed is accelerated. Even so, there are usually some bald spots where the rice cannot germinate due to other factors: weeds and various algae, birds that eat rice, etc.
And what happens? After 5-6 weeks from sowing, these bald spots are planted by hand – as was done in the past. For each variety of rice, somes plants are prepared, with a higher density. In the past, when all the fields were planted by hand, the plants were made in garden areas outside the marsh.
First thing in the morning, the crews of day laborers get ready. With their two expert hands, the rice plants are pulled out and grouped into sheaves, which are tied with thread as bunches. Years ago, sheaves were transported by barge through the ditches to the fields, and distributed through the rice fields with animals. Nowadays, they are transported by tractors to the fields and distributed by hand by the bald patches. The plants are removed from the sheaves by stretching their roots, and are planted into the mud. At the end of the working day, the replanted areas are reviewed in case any plant has not been planted in the soil and has remained floating in the water. This way, higher production and higher quality rice is achieved.
Article written by Juan Carlos GALBIS -Master of rice masters-, José ZAFRA, -passionate about rice- y Juan Valero -Gerente de ARROZ TARTANA-.