Loto Rice

lotoLoto is one of four varieties sent to me from Sylvia Davatz (Solstice Seed) in Vermont. Loto (Emilia-Romagna) is a upland variety from Italy. It is classified as a “risotto type”, but can be used in many different styles and dishes, including wonderful soups. I found it to be the easiest to de-hull (higher percentage of hulls removed per pass using hand-crank de-huller). The flavor was excellent.

Loto was the most lodge resistant of all the rice varieties I grew this season (I had zero lodging after a day with 4″ of rain). It stays fairly short and compact, reaching 3′ – 3 1/2′ in height. It was ready to harvest in 105 days img_9069from transplanting at the end of May. Loto also had very good foliage cover which helped to minimize weed competition after establishing a canopy. Loto is also an awnless variety which makes threshing much easier. It was very productive and yielded approx. 10 1/2 pounds per 100 square foot.

Rice seeds should be soaked in water 24 hours before planting. I start my plants indoors in April in plug flats (50’s) and transplant into beds after the last frost date. I recommend not leaving plants in flats for more than three weeks as the starts will yellow easily and weaken when root-bound. Here in Northern Indiana, I plant my rice plugs the last week of May. I plant into 4′ wide beds. This makes adding bird netting over the tops of the plants an easy chore using 5′ t-posts and twine. The plants are spaced 9″ apart in the beds.

At maturity the rice husks will turn to a golden brown and the rice seed inside will be hard.  I harvest in late September, cutting the whole plant and bundling into groups of 4. These bundles are then hung in my drying shed for a few weeks until the plant is fully dry. At this point threshing is easy by hand (pulling the grains off) or using a threshing machine. I use a treadle (foot) powered thresher. Rice has an inedible husk that needs to be removed before eating. There are small rice dehullers available but very difficult to locate. The most primitive way to accomplish this is by pounding the grains with a stick or mallet on a wood surface (tree stump) in order to loosen the husks.

Loto Rice
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17 grams (approx. 200 seed)$4.00
21 ounce (approx. 800 seed)$10.00
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