Heritage Rice comprises a variety of pure strains of very
rare indigenous rice, produced by unique communities of
villagers in the jungle heartland of Sri Lanka. Traditional methods of
farming, where respect is paid to local deities, and lunar cycles are
used to determine auspicious times for planting and harvesting, are
embraced in Ulpotha. Naturally no artificial fertilisers and pesticides
are employed on the land. Instead age-old bio-dynamic formulas,
traditional rituals, and bio-diversity are used to ensure a healthy
harvest. In order to preserve the natural environment, water buffalo
plough the fields and thresh the paddy in place of tractors. And, in
keeping with old village practises, most of these farming activities
are times for communal song, dance and celebration.
Heritage Rice supports and celebrates not just a method of farming but
a way of life.
ideal behind Ulpotha and its farming activities has been to promote
agriculture that does not poison the earth or upset the delicate
balance of nature, whilst encouraging traditional agrarian lifestyles.
Within Ulpotha itself, all agricultural activity has been centred on
rediscovering the traditional, sustainable methods of farming that work
with rather than against nature. Over the years, old and rare rice
varieties have been cultivated within the framework of a work and
lifestyle ethic that emphasises man's interdependence within the seen
and unseen worlds of nature.
protected from bugs and pests using traditional and biological methods.
These start with the choosing of auspicious times for planting and the
making and keeping of ritual vows to the spirits of the land.
Biological means, such as the use of powdered neem seeds, dried makra
leaves, crushed coconut shavings, sap from the jak fruit, cactus milk,
branches of the kaduru tree, bamboo leaves and riverbed sand, are all
employed when required and appropriate to deal with any infestations.
threshing of the paddy are carried out using buffalo, as the use of
tractors is avoided. The latter tend to break through the crust that
retain water in paddy fields, resulting in the need for far greater
amounts of irrigation. They also tend to dig up the soil too deeply,
bringing less fertile soil to the surface to the detriment of the
crops. Buffalo, on the other hand, do not cause these difficulties and
do not produce air and noise pollution, while they do produce useful
fertiliser and nourishing milk. They also reproduce.
introduction of fertiliser-dependant hybrids, there were over four
hundred different varieties of rice grown in the country, each with
different nutrient values and characteristics. Now only a handful of
rice strains are widely grown - almost all of which are hybrids. When
Ulpotha was first established, rare indigenous rice seeds were
carefully collected for their taste and high nutritional value from
small traditional farmers all over Sri Lanka and a small seed bank
established. In this way Ulpotha has, over the last several years,
developed quantities of very rare, pure strains of high quality,
indigeneous rice for distribution and planting in outlying organic
farms under its supervision. As a result this rice is now more widely
available than it has been in many generations and in quantities that
allow some to be exported in limited quantities.
content, texture, appearance, aroma and - most importantly - taste,
they are unlike any other rice.
Kaluheenati, which literally means dark, fine grain, is
a highly nutritious red rice that is considered to have medicinal
properties, and is particularly recommended for lactating mothers.
is a whole
grain red rice that is high in nutritional value.
Kuruwee literally means 'small rice', and is a
sweet and soft red rice.
Gonabaru is a very rare old variety of red rice
that formed the staple diet of both peasant and king.
Dhikwee is a soft and wholesome red rice that is
high in nutritional value.
Pachchaperumal is a wholesome short grain red rice that
when cooked takes on a deep rich burgundy colour. Pachchuperumal means
'Buddha's colour' and has been considered a divine rice in traditional
Singhalese culture. It has been used for centuries in 'Danes'
(offerings to the monks during a thanksgiving or vow to the gods for
rain, protection of crops etc)
Samba is a soft and delicious white rice that
has been the traditional rice of choice for festivities and alms-giving.
Suwandel is a rare white rice that is, as its
translated name implies, fragrant.