The Giant Rice Vercelli at Tenuta Muleggio.
Piergiorgio Varalda lived the first years of his life in Turin, where his father worked, and only after obtaining his diploma as a surveyor did he return with his brother to Vercelli in the family business where he resumed the cultivation of rice, expanding over the years , the area worked, up to the current 400 hectares. Born as a game between the fields and courtyards of the maternal grandfather's farm, the passion for agriculture makes its way into the soul of Piergiorgio and his brother, gradually becoming a job.
Piergiorgio fondly remembers life in the farmhouse in the seventies, when his mother and grandmother went to fish for frogs and then cook them fried or boiled in soups with rice, he remembers the launch of the fry at the beginning of the season and the harvest of mature carp in August, the old dryers, manned in a continuous cycle, by expert eyes and hands.
A world that today has profoundly changed not only thanks to mechanization and technology but also because of Piergiorgio's will. The Varalda company today offers the direct sale of its rice, engages about 20% of its land in the production of rice from seed, and, among the many initiatives, has introduced the production of Riso Gigante Vercelli, an ancient variety of rice very special because it is capable of naturally resisting the most terrible of diseases that affect rice, the brusone.
Video table of contents
- Childhood in Turin and the return to rice.
- The difficulties in regaining possession of the land given to third parties after the death of the grandparents.
- The passion for agriculture born during the weekends in the maternal grandfather's company gradually turns into a job.
- Fishing for frogs.
- Fried and boiled frogs.
- The launch of the fry in the paddy field and the capture of the carp in August.
- La monda and mondine.
- The old dryers and shifts 24 hours a day.
- The fountains, the rods, the ditches: the arteries of our water and their maintenance.
- Water in rice cultivation, thermal flywheel and flowering.
- The evolution of the company: the production of rice from seed.
- Il Gigante Vercelli, agronomic problems and competitive advantages.
- The farmer's curiosity led us to the Giant and his amateur qualities.
- The characteristics of the Giant: rustic plant, underground sowing, large tillering, very high, lodging, organic matrix, low nitrogen.
- The disciplinary: winter green manure buried in spring, treatments reduced to a minimum, no fungicides for flowering, threshers with rotors.
- The difficult relations with the industry, the unfair competition with the countries of the South East and the attempts to get out of this stranglehold.
- The Italian lots and the foreign lots are mixed by the industry, there is no channel dedicated to Italian rice.
- Seed production: 20% of our production. The manual monda made by the Chinese. Crodo rice, field and harvest checks.
Suburb: Tenuta Muleggio
Urls: Tenta Muleggio
Date of birth: 10-15-1965
School: High school or Secondary
Document by: Luca Ghiardo
Video by: Luca Ghiardo
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Food is a fundamental resource for man and his health, both through the supply of nutrients and the ability to embody traits of human culture that play a leading role in our well-being.
Over time, each territory has built original ways in which to relate to the fruits of its land, enriching them with rituals, symbolic meanings and culinary customs. Much of these relationships have been lost following the years of the economic boom, with the exodus from the countryside to urban centers, with the advent of agriculture for mass production and ultimately with the globalization of markets and the consequent impoverishment of the heritage of biodiversity and ethnodiversity.
The purpose of this archive is to collect evidence relating to the main rice production area in Europe, that is the Po Valley, and to investigate, through the analysis of textual sources and testimonies collected in the field, both what survives of this heritage, and the ways in which which has evolved and reached us, paying particular attention to the explicit and implicit links that bind food and health.