Aronia Berry: A Sustainable Organic Crop
PROJECT ACTIVITIES 2006
• Planted 4,000 plus aronia berry bushes. Hand planted, 14 days to complete.
• Mulched field #4 with wheat straw – three days.
• Set up watering pump for field #1, #2, #3.
• Trips to nursery to work on new cuttings – five trips, 845 miles.
• Planning and executing an Aronia Field Day on 8/16/06. Provided Aronia berry samples.
• Held meetings with Dr. Eldon Everhart.
• Purchased additional freezers.
• Gave thirty minute presentation at 14th National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference in Columbia, MO, November 2006.
We have learned that there is great opportunity and interest in the production and marketing of the aronia berry. The aronia berry field day at sawmill Hollow Organic Farms was a tremendous success. Approximately 80 to 90 people attended. The attendees toured the aronia berry fields, sampled raw aronia berries and juice. Participants sampled and evaluated six value-added Aronia products. Guest speaker, Dr. Eldon Everhart addressed specific characteristics of the Aronia berry. Several small family farmers committed to plant the Aronia berry as a value added crop in 2007.
Again, we received very positive comments and genuine interest it the 14th National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference. The presentation was well attended.
Numerous visitors have toured our farm and met with us after reading articles related to the Aronia Berry Field Day. We have learned that the small family farmer is interested and motivated to utilize the Aronia berry as a value added, sustainable farm crop.
WORK PLAN FOR 2007
Next year we will:
• Add additional 10,000 new plants.
• Purchase organic fertilizer for root dip test.
• Add another water pump.
• Soil & water test for new fields.
• Finalize product development and complete marketing test.
• Completed field day August 16, 2006 at Sawmill Hollow Organic Farms with 80 to 90 guests.
• Completed 30 minute Aronia berry presentation at the 14th National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference in Columbia, Missouri. Approximately 50 people attended the session. Presentation handouts connected the audience to additional links involving the aronia berry.
• Articles were written to announce the field day and appeared in numerous newspapers and farm related materials.
• Magazine recognition of the events include Small Farm Today magazine July-October 2006 issue, and The Iowa Horticulturist, fall 2006 issue.
• Radio announcements and brochures were also utilized to share information concerning the event.
• Additional magazine article is slated for spring issue. Newspaper coverage for the Aronia Field Day this coming Spring.