Pals has been associated with rice for a long time. Rice became an important crop of the town in the 15th century, when there was already a mill that can be dated to 1452. This mill is owned today by one of the rice-merchant families of Pals.
From the beginning, the cultivation of this crop became a feature of the town, and it has continued to be through good times and bad. One of the worst times came in the 18th century when there were uprisings in the country led by farmers who blamed the standing water of the rice fields for the illnesses and epidemics that swept the local population at the time, killing thousands of people. The unrest became so serious that a Royal Order was pronounced in 1838 that prohibited the cultivation of rice in the area.
At the start of the 20th century, one inhabitant of Torroella de Montgrí, Pere Coll i Rigau went to Cuba to seek his fortune and, when he returned, he bought Mas Gelabert in Pals and more agricultural land on which to grow rice in the area once again, using modern methods to keep the water circulating and constantly changing to prevent it from stagnating. The application of these new techniques meant that rice became a viable crop once again from 1908 onwards, reaching a peak in the period after the Civil War which would endure until the middle of the 20th century.
At the end of the 1950s and start of the 60s, the agricultural sector entered into sharp decline as the tourist and service industries emerged. Working conditions in the fields were very hard (long hours of work standing in water with your back constantly bent) and most of the population gave up their agricultural activities to work in the new economic sector that was just taking off. Even so, the cultivation of rice was never completely abandoned, and mechanization enabled some farmers to continue growing rice to the present day, and there are still twenty or so families who make their living from growing this cereal.