Last month the Yao Secret team was delighted to accept the invitation to join in one of Longji's most anticipated events: The annual harvest. With spectacular golden terraced fields, stunning nature, and the smell of freshly cut rice in the air, it's no wonder the event drew visitors from all over the country. During our earlier visits, Longji seemed like a dormant village with scarcely any visitors due to the impact of Covid-19. However, it was great to see the village bustling again with a new lease of life this time around!
As in the case with other rice terraces in Asia, there are two seasons when it’s worth going there: when the fields are filled with water and when the rice is ready to be harvested. Harvest season takes place in October, so if you're planning on visiting, make sure to arrive before then, or else the terraces will be bare. There are two main areas where most of the terraces are located: Ping’an (平安) and Dazhai (大寨). The pictures from our trip were taken in Ping’an.
The terraced scenic area is extremely fertile, so in addition to rice, you can also find a rich variety of produce being cultivated, such as corn, chillies, passion fruit, and tea.
Water supply is the most important aspect of the rice-growing process and is provided mainly by mountain streams. The different levels of rice terraces allow water to flow successively down each level. A seed is first planted on a seedbed, and after a couple of weeks, the seed is transplanted to rice terraces filled with six inches of water, otherwise known as paddies. As the seed matures, the water levels in the paddies decrease— by full maturity, the grounds should be completely dry, allowing for an easy harvest.
Rice is harvested when it is a golden-yellow colour several weeks after the water has been completely drained from the paddy and the soil around the rice is dry. The Longji rice is harvested with a sickle and bundled into sheaves and then threshed by cutting the top inch or so of the stalks with a knife and removing the grains.
The rice is then placed on large sheets and left to dry on the ground for a couple of days before being taken to the mill to be processed. Once the impurities have been removed, it is ready to be used to make edible rice or rice water.
Finally, it is with this rice water that the main component of our shampoo and conditioner bars is created. And there you have it! What else would you like to know about the harvest season or our visits to Longji? Leave us a comment below.
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