Erik Andrus had dreamed from a young age of being a farmer, and, as a soon-to-be father, he bought a piece of Champlain Valley bottomland with his new wife, Erica. Erik always enjoyed cereals, both aesthetically and as food and found particular meaning in how traditional agricultural communities rally around the life cycle of a locally important crop. The lot they bought featured flat topography meaning excess water took an awful long time to go away. After a few years of trying and, mostly failing, to grow wheat and barley, Erik and Erica Andrus realized that they would need to find a new use for their large, wet farmstead in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
In 2010, they heard about the work of Takeshi and Linda Akaogi, who had been running trials of Japanese rice varieties in Westminster West, Vermont. Having lived in Northern Japan for a while, Erik knew rice was grown in Hokkaido, which has a similar climate to Vermont. Today, they have 5.5 acres of irrigated rice paddies in the heart of the farm and at work on further expansion. They manage weeds and fertility using a method known as "aigamo," or "duck and rice farming" in Japan. Young ducklings are introduced into the newly-transplanted rice fields where they eat 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 they are constantly refining.
They also have a small drying and milling facility and do all their own processing, using specialized machinery imported from Japan. All of their rice varieties are Northern Japanese short grain rice suitable for sushi or general table use.