Erik and Erica Andrus bought Boundbrook Farm with the dream of reviving the farm, but not much idea of what the damp land would be able to produce. After some failed attempts at wheat, Erik recalled his years living in Japan and decided rice might work. He was correct: today they have six acres of irrigated rice paddies in the heart of the farm and are at work on further expansion in New Haven. Boundbrook is still is a very small farm by Japanese standards (and absurdly small by Southern or California rice farming standards) but is currently the largest rice installation in the Northeast. They manage weeds and fertility using a method known as "aigamo," or "duck and rice farming" in Japan. Variations of this method are found in many rice growing countries. Young ducklings are introduced into the newly-transplanted rice fields where they eat snails and other pests, and consume and trample weed competition. They don't harm the rice plants because the leaves are high in silica and are unpalatable to ducks. This is a fascinating multifaceted method that they are fully committed to refining.
When the rice is ready to harvest, the ducks are also "harvested", and until now have mostly been sold to area restuarants.