The Aronia Berry: Growing Super Berries in the Midwest

Posted by Superberries Team on 6/20/2023 to About the Aroniaberry

Aronia Berry Harvest

It's been interesting speaking with a number of the local farmers in Nebraska and Iowa regarding the Aronia crop, the growing season and the harvesting of the berries. I've noted that most of the farms place a firm emphasis on organic production of the Aronia Berries and are very careful to foster the bushes on land certified organic by the USDA. This careful attitude of the farms toward the organic growth of the bush and the Aronia Berry ensures a more natural tendency toward health and wellness. Aroniaberries are the signature ingredient in all of Superberries products.

Production of the Aronia Berry crop in the agricultural areas of the High Plains has grown immensely in both Iowa and Nebraska with each passing year. The Aronia Berry thrives in drier, cooler climates with seasonal changes. Numerous farmers have informed me the Aronia Berry is by far one of the easiest crops to grow in these areas. It's very low maintenance after the initial planting and sustains itself fully in extreme conditions of heat, cold and climate change until the harvesting of the fruit in three to five years after planting.

Aronia Berries also contain a tough outer skin which keeps the elements out and protects the seeds and oils housed within. The twigs and branches are course and the leaves are thick and sturdy with the ability to stave off harsh snowfall, ice and torrential rains. Farmers have said there is little need to spray the plants or the Aronia Berries due to the fact that not many pests prey upon them. Besides, various studies have shown the Aronia Berry does not perform as well with the use of herbicides or pesticides.

Perhaps the most difficult portion of the Aronia Berry growth process comes at harvest time in late August or early September. Much of the harvest of the Aronia Berries on the smaller farms is performed by hand and can become exceptionally time consuming and labor intensive for the small local farmer.

The larger farms, in contrast, generally plant the bushes three to four feet apart in each row and have a mechanical picker. The mechanical picker saves quite a bit of time and labor by working in manner similar to combine use on wheat or corn. The Aronia Berry picker pulls the bushes gently to one side, stripping the bush of the fruit as it moves slowly down the rows and repeats the process on the other side. The speed of the harvester is one-quarter to one-third of an acre per hour for 3,300 pounds of berries per hour of harvesting. The pickers aren't nearly as perfect as harvesting by hand, but pickers still have an estimated harvest rate of about ninety-five percent.

The rise of consumer knowledge on the Aronia Berry has precipitated the growth spurt in the farms producing the berries, as more farms add the low maintenance Aronia Berry bush to their repertoire each year. The health and wellness benefits and the trends toward natural antioxidants and organically grown produce has also been a great boon in the rise of the Aronia Berry in prominence across High Plains Farms. It will be interesting to watch this trend continue as more research is completed on the various health benefits of the Aronia Berry and its addition to the mantle of "superfood".