Aronia berries contain very high levels of antioxidants --- higher than acia, grapes, elderberries, blueberries, and other fruits. As you probably know, research has shown that antioxidants help reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, inflammations, diabetes, bacterial infections, and neurological diseases, and may slow the aging process in humans. Aronia berries can be eaten fresh off the bush or used in bread, muffins, pies, cookies and other baked goods. They can be used to make tea, smoothies, juice, and aronia wine. Aronia fruit or fruit juice can be used to make jams, jellies, syrup, candy, salsa, barbeque sauce, and to flavor and color yogurt, sorbet, ice cream, milk, and other products. Aronia is native to the United States and easy to grow organically. Hundreds of acres are being planted in the Midwest. That's because an Aronia business can be very profitable. Annual returns per acre can be over $8,000 on the wholesale market and $100,000 on the retail market. You will learn a lot more about Aronia when you attend the Aronia Festival on Saturday & Sunday, Sept 19 & 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Sawmill Hollow Organic Farm, 2159 Kennedy Avenue, north of Missouri Valley, Iowa. There will be tours of the Aronia plantation, educational talks, entertainment, samples, plants and products for sale. Take Interstate 29 south from Sioux City or north from Omaha to Exit 82 (Modale) then follow the Aronia berry signs. The event is co-sponsored by Iowa State University Extension & Sawmill Hollow Organic Farm.
Call the Grundy County Extension Office if you would like more information at 319-824-6979.