Market and consumer elderberry research results reveal show a nascent industry with mostly small scale participants poised for growth. Demand trends are favorable and prices are good across the value chain. Challenges include a limited domestic supply of fruit, few regionally adapted varieties suitable for commercial production, and high labor costs. The absence of existing mechanical harvesting equipment limits industry growth. Opportunities exist to increase the domestic elderberry industry across the value chain. Outreach publications and on-farm workshops and conferences support individual producers and the Missouri elderberry industry including an ongoing elderberry producer cooperative.
This project takes an integrated approach to specialty crop development combining marketing and financial research (supported by ongoing long-term production research) with outreach efforts. Outcomes will be enhanced by formation of clusters of elderberry growers and value-added producers and their integration into regional collaborative networks. This project will provide information essential to the growth and development of a regional elderberry industry. The main outcomes and outcome indicators of the project include: * Increased producer/value-added processor adoption of elderberry as a profitable and sustainable specialty crop * 12 new farms will begin elderberry production * 8 wineries will add or increase elderberry wine production * 10 value added producers will initiate or increase use of elderberry in their product mix * In-depth information created to support producer decision making process for on-farm and associated value added enterprise opportunities * Increased knowledge about the elderberry market, future trends and growth potential * Integrated elderberry Financial Decision Support Model to assist multiple level decision makers from the family farmer to the agricultural lender * Increased knowledge about consumer preferences and target markets * 100 individuals trained in elderberry marketing via workshops * 100 individuals trained in elderberry winemaking principles via workshops * 200 individuals trained in elderberry production via field days * Expanded elderberry value added production * Generate options for higher rates of return for producers by adding value through product processing * Increased coordination among industry players * Development of a learning network among growers * Integration of growers and producers into regional cuisine networks in Missouri and the Midwest for greater visibility, joint marketing, and agri-tourism opportunities * Work towards obtaining geographical indication recognition for Midwest elderberries * Increased demand for elderberry products (10% increase in regional demand) * Increased consumer awareness about elderberry (5,000 to 7,500 individuals directly exposed to elderberry value-added products via the Missouri Chestnut Roast and all the events organized at the University of Missouri Research Centers, Eridu Farms, and Wyldewood Cellars) * Increase consumption of elderberry products with associated nutrition and health benefits