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The ancient Ferron rice mill is situated near Isola della Scala just out of Verona. Their rice mill is thought to be the oldest working mill in Italy, and is still water-driven, as it was when it was first established in the 17th century. They grow and mill Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, and Vialone Nano Pestelli rices and a rice flour.
Carnaroli and Vialone Nano rices are produced in the traditional, centuries old, agricultural method. The Ferron family grow rice without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Instead their rice fields are irrigated with pure spring water and are full of frogs and carp, which control pests in a natural, organic way. Crops are rotated and corn and medicinal herbs are planted in the non-planting years to replenish the soil with nutrients, and to sustain the correct chemical composition of the soil. The family has helped take Carnaroli and Vialone Nano from the brink of extinction. Due to their efforts these superior risotto grains are now widely grown again.
In recognition of the quality and characteristics of this rice, in 1996 Ferron Vialone Nano rice was declared a “Indicazione Geografica Protetta” (IGP) - a geographically protected, quality product. This was awarded based on the Ferron cultivation and processing methods and the geographical context of their origin, offering the consumer a series of guarantees of quality and authenticity. It is the only variety in Italy and Europe that carries the IGP quality guarantee.
The Ferron rice is very different to the more commercially known Arborio or Vercelli rices. It is not a highly polished rice therefore it has more essential starch and vitamins on the outer part of the grain. These essential starches and vitamins produce a rice which gives greater yield and which has a very distinct and pronounced flavour. The rice has the amazing ability to not only absorb greater quantities of stock but to also retain the classic individuality of the grain. Ferron rice is cultivated under biological and organic control.
Ferron rices are more flavoursome than other types and are ideal risotto rices although Gabriele Ferron, who is the fourth generation of his family to grow the rice, advocates and teaches their use from bread at dinner ( made out of rice flour ) to dessert.
See our Ferron no-stir risotto recipe.