As the sole miller of Japanese-produced rice in the United States, The Rice Factory NY is relied upon by some of New York City’s best Japanese restaurants.
The company’s rice farm is located in Ina City in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, a mountainous area that Rice Factory CEO Satoshi Ito describes as the “middle of nowhere.” “Since there are distinct seasons and clean water in Japan, the temperature differences between day and night are greater,” he says. “That’s what gives a greater sweetness to the rice.”
From Japan, the rice gets imported to New York, where Ito and his team receive 15 to 16 tons of rice a month. The rice gets sorted according to variety and shelved at their temperature-controlled warehouse in Scarsdale, New York. At the heart of the space is an industrial rice miller that mills about 600 kilograms of rice per hour, removing the pebbles and other impurities are taken out of the rice. “Freshly milled rice tastes the best,” says Ito. “Milling makes the rice easier to eat and enhances the taste.”
Ito says that they essentially mill to order, which has made them the go-to for all kinds of restaurants, from mid-service to more high-end restaurants like Yoshino and Icca. Their milling machine also offers six different levels of milling, from white rice to brown rice, and the ability to get restaurants exactly the product they need. “Yoshino is renowned both in Japan and America, they were looking for a blend with a particular stickiness,” says Ito. “So we came up with the perfect blend for the sushi at Yoshino.”
But their product isn’t just for restaurants, as their rice is available to any customers that also want freshly milled rice. “It’s my hope that many people will get to enjoy freshly milled Japanese rice,” says Ito.