Nature and Culture Thrive in the Paddy…
Our farm is naturally poorly drained, being situated in the clay plain that used to form the bed of a larger Lake Champlain. We have converted 6 acres of marshy agricultural land too wet to cut for hay into a rice paddy system.
Our system has the potential to crop several tons of rice, dozens of tons of clean straw, and also produce significant quantities of duck (and potentially even fish!) as by-products.
In creating this system we also created habitat for untold numbers of amphibians. In early summer the calls of four species of frogs can be heard in the paddy. Some yellow-legged sandpipers, a great blue heron and a snowy egret have also been frequent visitors, bringing the farm bird species count to 76.
In the context of an agricultural landscape dominated by grasslands and forest, the wetland environment of the paddy provides a huge boost to biodiversity. In our case, it also has given us the opportunity to transform our least-productive land into the most productive.
A diverse cropping system that builds community and understanding
Most of the world’s rice is grown by peasant households or groups of villagers cooperating. It’s our aim to foster the re-rooting of the culture of grain in the Champlain Valley.
The presence of human feet and hands in the paddy not only gets the crop planted and harvested but also reconnects us to the land and to each other.
Rice invites us all, through work, to view our land in a different way–a way that works with the nature of our heavy, poorly drained Champlain basin soils rather than against it.
Through our ongoing work with schools and community groups and by sharing resources and equipment with other growers, we hope to help promote a deep understanding of our food-producing landscape and the renewal of collaborative farming.
The Pleasure of Eating Rice
In many lands where rice is grown, it is more than a side dish. It is life itself.
Our rice is short-grain Japanese rice with a pleasant texture, fresh aroma and nutty flavor. It makes a great accompaniment to any meal. We invite you to revisit your relationship with this often-taken-for-granted staple and explore a local rice that is subtle, and complex.
Boundbrook farm will soon be offering certified organic brown and haigamai (semi-brown, partially milled) rice in reuseable 2 lb jute bags for $7.00. Bags can be refilled at the farm for $6.00. Larger quantities will also be available in bulk from the farm. We are pleased to be able to retail our organic rice for prices at par with national organic brands.
Please look for our rices in our distinctive “Vermont Rice” bag with the diving duck logo in late 2012.
What is Vermont Rice?
Vermont rice is grown from varieties of cool-tolerant japonica rice, most of which originate from the northern latitudes of Japan. It is grown as “wet rice,” in a carefully leveled and irrigated paddy environment. The research of Takeshi and Linda Akaogi in southern Vermont has given area farmers a viable growing method.
This rice has a longer growing season than any other New England cereal, lasting about 5 ½ months from seed to harvest.
What is Aigamo?
Aigamo is the method described by Japanese farmer Takao Furuno in his pivotal book, The Power of Duck. Flocks of ducklings are raised in the wetland environment of the rice paddy, where they provide fertility and weed control. They don’t eat rice leaves due to the high silica content. The ducks are removed after about 6 weeks, by which time the canopy is complete.
Erik and Erica Andrus
276 Burroughs Farm Road