'Shanghai New Rice' winning new fans

The locally grown “early” rice harvested in September in considered tastier for local palates than rice from the north.

“Shanghai New Rice,” an early harvested, single-season grain, is trying to cater to local palates and prove that the region can grow top quality rice to challenge northern imports.

From September 22 to October 22 it will be available at 10 hypermarkets and 43 supermarkets from the Lianhua Group, with supply limited to 510 tons.

“We aim to change locals’ stereotype that there is no good quality in local grown rice,” said Wang Dedi, chief business officer of city’s agriculture commission.

“It is only a very small portion of Shanghai’s total rice production, but the feedback we have from consumers is positive.”

Shanghai New Rice is grown with single-season cultivation, farmers seeded in May and reaped in September.

“Growing single-season rice ensured the quality of rice as well as the sustainability of the soil for we grow soil improving plants in winter,” Cao Liming, director of Crop Breeding and Cultivation Research Institute, said on Wednesday.

“Compared to northern-grown rice, locally grown rice is softer, its flavor is more suitable for local people and it needs less water for cooking,” Cao said.

About 150 people, including experts and residents, visited Maogang Town in Songjiang District, one of the major production areas, to watch the rice be processed and cooked. Stock sold out quickly.

“The taste reminds me of my childhood,” said Cao, adding she was amazed by the tenderness of the grains.

Shanghai’s rice planting covers 1.4 million mu (93,333 hectares), including 25,000 mu of Shanghai New Rice.

Wang said the new rice would aim for the high-end market next year, with better branding and publicity.

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