Educating about Elderberries
Educating about Elderberries
Elderberries are a rapidly growing specialty crop in the Midwest. They have multiple functions in a cropping system because they are perennial, ornamental, a wildlife food source, and they can be planted in low-lying wet areas as a buffer. They can be used to produce value-added products like jams, jellies, wines, and juices. Elderberries are also in demand due to their high antioxidant content and health benefits. They can be an income opportunity for family farms.
In-depth information was developed to support the producer decision-making process for on-farm and associated value-added elderberry enterprise opportunities. Research results were disseminated through workshops, outreach guides, decision-support tools, and peer-reviewed journal articles.
The Elderberry Financial Decision Support Tool was launched. Housed on the University of Missouri Agroforestry website (www.centerforagroforestry.org/profit/elderberryfinance.php), the tool is designed
to assist decision-makers, from the family farmer to the agricultural lender. This tool allows users to select multiple options from a list of the most common establishment, management, harvesting, and marketing techniques to determine the techniques that will generate the best economic returns.
More than 100 people attended the Comprehensive Elderberry Workshop and Farm Tour in June 2012. Pre- and post-surveys indicated that the workshop strengthened communication among people interested in elderberry production, including connections between participants and established producers, and connections between participants and researchers.
The post-workshop survey indicated a significant gain in knowledge that improved the understanding of elderberry production. Most respondents indicated an increased interest in elderberries.
Based on their initial involvement, some plan to pursue commercial production, others plan to start growing elderberries, while others intend to “spread the word” about elderberries. The workshop also helped to support future adoption of elderberries as a profitable crop across Missouri and the U.S.
Fifty people attended an elderberry winemaking workshop, which strengthened communication among people interested in winemaking and elderberry production as well as successful winemakers and researchers. The post-survey indicated a significant gain in knowledge that improved the understanding of the winemaking process. The workshop also helped support the potential growth in valueadded elderberry production.
View a presentation on this project, from the 2012 Farmers Forum, through NCR-SARE's YouTube playlist. Visit www.youtube.com/NCRSAREvideo for this and other videos.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) LNC10-324, Developing Successful Marketing Strategies for Elderberry Growers and Value-Added Processors: A Model for Specialty Crop Development in the U.S. Midwest .
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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.