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Ferron

Ferron_crop

The Antica Riseria Ferron family has specialised in rice production for four generations.  After a period of apprenticeship as a piloti (‘rice-mill worker’), Luigi Zachetti acquired various rice mills throughout the Veneto region. He passed the trade and the business to his son-in-law Marcello Ferron and his grandson, Lionello Ferron. Luigi’s great-grandson, Gabriele Ferron, now manages the business.  

In 1975, Gabriele Ferron recognised that mass production of inferior rice posed a serious threat to the survival of two exceptional varieties of Veronese rice. He later established and led a consortium of rice growers in the Isola della Scala valley to protect these delicate species. Gabriele Ferron’s dedication has ensured that Vialone Nano rice and Carnaroli rice are available to an appreciative market across the globe.

The Pila Vecia (‘old mill’ in the Veronese dialect) is central to Antica Riseria Ferron. Venetian state archives indicate that the mill has been in operation since 1656. Situated 11 kilometres from Verona, it has been owned by the Ferron family since 1921. A canal called the Fossa Zenobia runs under the Pila Vecia. The water turns the original seven-metre paddle wheel, which provides the energy for a series of centuries-old pestelli (wooden poles with marble tips) which gently work up and down to crush whole grains of rice and remove the outer husks.

The next step is the mechanical removal of pula (chaff). Pula is the case or capsule surrounding the grain. By removing the minimum amount of pula, Gabriele Ferron ensures that each rice grain retains its precious starches, proteins, vitamins and minerals. No chemicals are used to remove the husk and pula.

Ferron rice is organic and there is no use of pesticides or herbicides. In accordance with traditional farming practices, fields are routinely left fallow. In non-planting years, corn and medicinal herbs are cultivated to replenish the soil with nutrients. Water from pure and unpolluted underground springs encourages pristine crop growth. The fields are full of carp which control pests in a delicate and naturally maintained ecosystem.

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