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Hedging a bet on the aronia berry in America — The Grow Network Community
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Hedging a bet on the aronia berry in America

aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Growing Medicinals

It is a microcosm of US history of the past few generations or so--this super berry which is native to North America gets ignored and uprooted. Sent over seas for the fruits of American labor to be stomped on elsewhere. The Russians and North Europeans are like hey 'merca we'll take that over for you. You have enough on your hands cutting down all your natural spaces to make way for Chinese plastics...becomes the sad sales pitch of the GEN X petrol mania.

If you will recall aronia berry juice is being sold to upscale 🇺🇸 nutrition stores as a super power nutrition juice by the 1970s. The aronia berries to make this juice are being grown in Russia and northern Europe. Then the juice is shipped to 'merca at a super high cost not to mention the environmental impact of shipping across the world the grand elixir of our very own mother berry.

Alas some call her a chokeberry and indeed she's a native. One of the easiest berries to grow you'll ever lay hands on. Freeze tolerant and grows in zones 3-8 in a wide range of soils. Full sun works best for sweeter berries. Also drought tolerant once established. An excellent hedge crop. Easier to grow than the blueberry and offers the most nutrition of any berry bar none of them.

Aronia berry can be made into wine, jam, syrup. Below (see photos) I picked some and included with blueberries. Was absolutely stunning today sprinkled across some ice cream. Yum and run don't walk to make this part of your wonderland gardening!!!


  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    I have this plant and I did not realize how nutrient packed it was. I really need to plant this as I have had this in a small pot for about a year at this point. I think calling it by another of its common names, that being the Viking berry will help it reconquer its old stomping grounds. :) What do you think?

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    @Cornelius YES just like the Vikings called Iceland what they did LOL might as well use some wisdom from history. I have the Viking variety as well. It is an extremely vibrant, hardy variety of the plant. Next I'm going to buy the Nero variety. Some say Nero is best for making the wine. I do suggest planting it directly in the soil. Even at our traveling homestead, we did this and it has blown up huge and luscious. Have a great day and look forward to hearing more about your adventures with the aronia berry!!!

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,762 admin

    I considered an aronia but decided on haskap for the space that I had, but one day I will plant some.

    Just so that others are aware, chokeberry and chokecherry are not the same the of berry. I hear that they cam be confused, but they are actually quite different. One way to tell is by seeds. The chokecherry has a pit, the chokeberry does not. There are other differences as well.

    I just thought this was worth mentioning.

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I want to grow haskap and chokecherry as well. You are a women after my own heart. I want it all mwahaha someday we will be at our homestead for real and can plant all of it. I want to make chokecherry suncakes!!! We want to have horses too, but they know enough not to overdose on chokeberry in the wild right? Typically...We will be careful teaching them. Thank you for the mention. Do you have any advice growing haskap?

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,762 admin
    edited July 2020

    @aprilbbrinkman Our chokecherries grow wild here and our season is just starting. My MIL told me that there are two types (that grow wild here anyway) and told me which of ours are the better ones. I really can't tell the difference myself flavorwise. Haha

    I have read that chokecherry can kill livestock, but we had a milk cow clean up one of our best and most beautiful bushes up as high as she could, then later, we had a beef heifer who broke the branches and pulled a lit of it down to also eat the leaves & berries. The eating of the chokecherry appeared to do nothing.

    The horse has never shown an interest.

    Unless something poisonous is hidden in hay (like assassin beetles or poisonous weeds) or if there is not enough food and the weeds are in large supply, most livestock, including chickens, will avoid eating truly poisonous things.

    I planted haskap, it grew. It has more berries in the sun than shade in my experience. You should have at least two types. One thing you have to be aware of is that if birds find the berries, you will get none...every year. You will need to cover the bush with netting or a frame made with 1/4" hardware cloth. The plastic type would be good enough for this. There is no need to use the metal type.

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning thank you for the great advice! Very good to know about the horses. Have a great day.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,762 admin

    @aprilbbrinkman You are welcome!

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    We planted one of these two years ago and loved it so much that we bought a second this summer (which was good since the deer also seemed to love our first bush after it bloomed in late spring...🙄) We made last years harvest into a berry syrup for an immune boost following an elderberry recipe. We also made a tincture out of some of the fruit, but it sure packs a punch! Still figuring out what exactly to do with that...😂

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    @ aprilbbrinkman I didn't know there was more then one variety! Now I guess I have more collecting to do. I have chokecherry trees all around my house. I love their bright white blooms every spring. The leaves are poisonous to humans though.

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    @chimboodle04 yes I want to make a syrup out of the aronia for sure. The elderberry is another great one. The aronia has been much easier to grow for us though. Don't know why.

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    @Cornelius edibles with great blooms are where it's at thanks!

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    @aprilbbrinkman The aronia has grown well for us too so far - we just bought some elderberry bushes this year, so we will see how they compare :)

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    Here is a picture of my first harvest!

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Xjust got some planted this year. Can hardly wait for my first crop after seeing all these photos.

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    Are they supposed to taste sour?

  • marcy_northlightsfarmmarcy_northlightsfarm Posts: 103 ✭✭✭

    I have an Aronia bush and it grows lots of berries. I usually dry them and store in a jar. When I feel a cold coming on I eat a small handful several times a day for their Vit C. Yes they are sour@Cornelius ! Gotta check my teeth if I'm going somewhere though, the black bits get stuck and make me look comical.

  • annebeloncikannebeloncik Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    What is the best way to start this plant? From seeds, or get a started plant?

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    @annebeloncik I got it from a nursery and it fruited the following year. I think you can start from seed though, but I am not sure. I will let you know in spring since I throw a few bad berries into my flower bed to see if they would grow.

    @marcy_northlightsfarm Thank you. I thought they were supposed to taste sweet although I guess I know why the birds didn't eat them now!

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2020

    @Cornelius nice harvest! Yes aronia taste tart compared with blueberry for example. A nice combination makes a jam out of both berries combined.

    @annebeloncik I also got my little aronia bushes in form of young saplings. For me this made most sense, and there has been 100% survival. They've really taken off.

  • aprilbbrinkmanaprilbbrinkman Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    @chimboodle04 elderberry by comparison has been more difficult to grow. Any tips on elderberry? That is such a nice combination you have them growing together.

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