Aronia and Uncommon Fruits | Wisconsin Public Television

Aronia and Uncommon Fruits

Aronia and Uncommon Fruits

Record date: Feb 10, 2018

Cory Secher, Co-Owner of Carandale Farm, and Roberta Barham, Co-Owner of Barham Gardens, discuss perennial cropping research at the Carandale farm and introduce the uses and advantages of the sustainable super fruit aronia and other uncommon fruits.

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Episode Transcript

- Well, hi. Thanks for coming today. My name is Cory Secher, and, actually, I'm going to start out the conversation today regarding our test plot out there and the research we've done since 2003, and then we're going to move over and talk specifically about a very important fruit that's coming up. It's a super fruit called "aronia." Okay, so, to start out, I want to say that, you know, my father, Dale, and Cindy Secher are the ones who started this whole research. I've been asked to come in and talk on their behalf. I'm what they call a generational farmer. I have actually been out on my own for about 18 years working in natural sciences as a firefighter and a forester and came back about five years ago and trying to take over my family farm. To give a little background on our farm, it is one of the oldest you-pick farms in Dane County. The original. We are family-owned and operated, obviously. And our primary cash crop is going to be strawberries with secondary crops in the uncommon fruits. So we're looking at, well, Concord grapes, not very uncommon, but a delicious one, organic aronia, quince, black currant and so on. We'll get into more detail later. We're in Oregon, Wisconsin, just south of here, and we're in hardiness zone four or five, in that area, about four-and-a-half. And I put that on there for good reason as we move forward. Okay, so the on-farm research, as I said, started in 2003. It was a grant from DATCP. And now we have a really awesome website hosted by C-I-A-S, Center of Integrated Agriculture Systems. Now, today, I'm not hoping to get out there and give you all the information on perennial systems. This is just to kind of wet the whistle, get you a little excited, and get you understanding that we can have a diverse and healthy agriculture system, as well as get you interested enough to go to the CIAS website or our website at CarandaleFarm.com. And we also want to show how cropping systems like this can really help out not just the seasoned agrarians out there, but people like myself bring in new crops and new ideas out that we can get ahead of corporate takeover and what have you. Basically bring healthier foods from the farm to our tables. The perennial cropping research began in 2003, as I stated, and I'll gleen through this as fast as I can. But the basic research was designed, my father wanted to have this as a system to facilitate local and regional cropping systems that could be replicated by new agrarians or people trying to adapt into a new system. It's to provide local access and healthy foods that are affordable and healthy. And it's for replication, of course, so anybody can do it. It's to be sustainable. And "sustainable" is a pretty big word, but there's a lot of different things we're talking economically, environmentally, and socially. It was to reduce the long distance transportation. You know, grow the foods we need here so we don't have to transport it so far. It's a smaller footprint. And, of course, the economic alternatives, as I said, to get ahead of this monoculture system that seems to be taking over. That's Cindy. That's my stepmother. She's been integral in this, as well. We're a very humble farm. We're not very big. We only have about 60 acres that are tillable, of which we dedicated three acres to this research plot. Of the three acres, we had 500 plants that were established of 100 different cultivars and 42 different fruit crops. There's three main trials that my father was working with, and that is going into stone fruits, currant and gooseberry, and uncommon lesser-known fruits. Most of the uncommon fruits that we brought in were from either northern Europe, former Soviet Union, northern Asia, and we really wanted to get the ones that were native to this area, to North America. To the left and right of Cindy there, that's some of these hen scratches that my dad did to set up his perennialization system. It's a process. The research parameters, of course, the plants we actually wanted to be fruit-bearing. We wanted the cold hardiness zone to be within our range, but we wanted to test the lower limits and the upper limits. Makes sense. Soil pH: ours is between six and seven. So, again, we wanted to get the lower and the higher. And then there was no plant size restrictions, but, to be honest with you, we ended up going with more smaller shrubs, things like that that would have more of the same harvesting and other type of marketability appeal. The plant screening had to be horticulturally adaptable. Basically, can it grow here? We didn't want it to have any invasive issues, so we really screened heavily to make sure we weren't bringing any known invasives. And pest issues, of course, we want to know what we're bringing in, what we're going to have to deal with. Fruitfulness, how much fruit they're going to produce. We want to have a lot of fruit if possible since we are a production farm, and we wanted fruit quality. More isn't always better, as we all know. Continuing on, we have the research objectives. We want it to be low maintenance. We're too busy, we're all too busy to run out there and keep working on every little thing. So low maintenance, consistent performance. Is it going to produce fruit every year, every other year, every third year? Things to consider. We wanted noninvasive, high productivity, adaptability, again. We wanted processing versatility. So are we going to do this just for fresh fruits or are we hoping that we can market this in some type of value added? And, of course, we were shooting for high nutritional value, which is where the aronia kind of came from here. Now, other guidelines we had: we wanted to give native species a priority, if possible. We considered all species from similar temperate climates from around the world and, again, avoid known invasives. Now, I have to do this-- and I'm sorry-- but we have to talk about "What is healthy?", "What is healthy food and fruits?" and definitions here. So "nutraceutical" was coined in 1989, and it's basically extra health benefits above and beyond just the nutritional values found in food. It promotes general well-being. What would one of those be? An anthocyanin. An anthocyanin is usually a purple-blue pigment found in foods and it belongs to a compound called flavonoids. And a flavonoid is a powerful antioxidant two times that of even vitamin C. Lycopene, we probably know that one. That's something we all know in tomatoes that has a possible anticancer property. And, of course, ORAC, that stands for the oxygen radical absorbance capacity. This is what we use to basically compare different fruits against each other to see which ones have higher antioxidant values than other ones. It absorbs free radicals in the body. Okay, thanks, I had to go through those.

[laughter]

Now, why are anthocyanins so important? Now, I have to be careful here because in the United States there's been some research but in Europe there's been a lot of research. In Europe, we say "anthocyanins will" or "anthocyanins can." We have to be careful here. It's not bona fide yet or, you know, documented. There's ongoing research. So we're going to use, "Food anthocyanins may ..." They may fight against antioxidant damage, which basically helps restore memory. They may have anticancer effects. A lot of clinical trials are suggesting this. They may reduce bad cholesterol. They increase good cholesterol. Reduce the risk of disease, heart disease. 2013 study, as you can see, it's very compelling: 32% reduction in the risk. And it relieves arthritis. It has anti-inflammatory properties. The list can go on and on, but I like doing things in fives.

[laughter]

This is my father, Dale, giving a tour out at the test plot. And I want to read this directly off the slide here because this is right from him to you. This is philosophy of perennial cropping systems: "The concept of an integrated cropping system is based on incorporating a variety of plant species that have complementary ecological functions that contribute to a balanced system but also have similar characteristics for management, equipment sharing, processing, and marketing, which provides the economics of scale for sustainability." I think it's a beautiful statement, actually. The underlined words: "Variety of plant species, balanced system, similar characteristics for sustainability." I don't think anybody can argue that. "Good health comes from the farm, not the pharmacy." Something I'm sure my dad did not coin but I sure hear it a lot.

[laughter]

Now, okay, that sounds great and wonderful, but why diversify into a perennial cropping system? Now, some of you are here because you want to do backyard work, some are production folks, and so on. So, why diversify into a perennial cropping system? Any farmer will tell you diversification is risk management. And with this type of system, you have continuous revenues coming in. If you have one failure, you can pick it up somewhere else. The symbiotic relationships will increase the soil fertility which creates lower input needs. Promotes microbial relationships and nutrient cycling, which is healthier soils. Stabilizes soil structure and improves water quality. And this is something most people don't think about, but it creates beneficial habitat for certain insects that we actually do want in our crops. Now, what perennial crops to grow? This is based on your objectives and what you're land can hold. What can you grow out there? So, again, with my fives. Or I guess this is four. I'll go with five. So basic crop selection is knowing your land and knowing your objectives. Now, these are simple terms, but oftentimes we glaze over them because we just think we know what they mean. But you got to know what your climate is. And that, of course, is the average weather conditions over a period of time. This will give you growing season and your cold hardiness. It's very important when making selections. The weather is the daily variations. Now, this is wind temperature, precipitation, and this affects the dormancy and chilling requirements. These are things you also need to know before you make this investment. The mesoclimate, that's more what's local. For me, we have kettles. So we have low areas where cold air will pool. That's a frost pocket. If you have an east slope, you might be able to plant something that would normally get frost in the early spring but because you get early sun and so on. That's what that is. And then, the basic soils. Everybody says, "Gosh, we can just amend our soils. But, you know, we can only do so much with amendments. We can change the pH, fertility, organic matter, but when it comes down to the internal drainage and water holding capacity, that is pretty much identified by the basic soils that you have there today. We always say, "You will have to do your own on-farm trial before making any big investment. Now, value and economic potential, basically, for people that want to go into production, like myself. Input requirements. What is the cost of production? Years to fruiting. That's my return on investments. These are all things we need to consider. Yield potential determines the pricing that we're going to give. The harvest window, that's risk management. Short little window, long window. One might be riskier than the other. Depends on your objectives. Crop consistency. I've found some crops, they fruit every other year versus every year. We didn't know that. I'm glad I didn't make a big investment. ¶ Harvesting options, it determines labor costs. Is it going to be mechanically- harvested or hand-harvested? And then, pest resistance. Does it have potential to be organically grown? And then, of course, the marketing factors. We got to see if we're going to grow them for fresh appeal, for processing, or value added. And, of course, the health benefits and public awareness is something we have to consider. This is a new fruit, uncommon fruit, we have to make sure and realize that we're going to have to educate the public a little bit. Now, observations from the field. These are examples of economic pairing. For those of you who want to do more of a production, crops with similar harvest, processing, marketing appeal. It goes back to my father's philosophy. The aronia, honeyberry, goumi (gumi), Saskatoon, Ribes, and so on, these could be paired together in a cropping system and also be really good in a marketing system. Or you could go, and/or I should say, you can go with crops with outstanding nutritional value, such as the aronia, the seaberry, black currant, and elderberry. And then, of course, we have niche appeal. We also grow paw paw, persimmons, and things like that. They're amazing and a lot of the local restaurants love to buy these up and put them on their menus. Now, here we go. The economic and lesser known fruits. There are many lesser known fruits to choose from to be incorporated into any system. Small, large, your backyard. That's where you want nutrition to be emphasized. Now, the biggest challenges for all growers is adaptability. Is it going to grow here? So that's where you want to go back and research your land, make sure that you select the ones that can grow here. And for all commercial growers, this labor requirements, public education, outreach, because believe it or not, this is, like aronia, relatively new and people don't know what the heck it is. So, a lot of education and outreach. And for more information, you can get on the uncommon fruit CIS website or CarandaleFarm.com. Now, here, this is just going to be a little show and tell. Some pictures with some basic information about each one of these unusual or uncommon fruits that we grow well here. And I tried to put them in order of earlier season to later season so you can get an idea of the progression of how things will grow. Now, honeyberry-- this was a fun one-- has a lot of potential. It is a specialty crop and it is frost-hardy and it is both for processed and fresh eating. It is a delicious little berry. Saskatoon, this one is high in protein, good in fats and dietary fiber. It has a wide range of soils, makes it pretty applicable to any of our farms, and is native to North America. Now, goumi (gumi), I love this one. This one is fun. It's rich in lycopene, high in other nutraceuticals. Nitrogen fixer, which basically means it creates nitrogen and enriches the soil. It's great companion planting. And it is insect/disease resilient, which gives it an opportunity to be grown organically. European black currant. This one actually is amazing. It has extremely broad processing potential. It is the most balanced of all fruits, believe it or not, in minerals, vitamins, and nutraceuticals, so much so that in the 17th century it was used for medicinal purposes. To drive that point home, on the screen here, if you look to the top left, we have blueberries and you go down two, in red it stays black currant. I'm going to focus on those two and just kind of go across real quickly. This is basically in one pound of fruit, the milligrams of these particular things on there that they produce. So I'm going to skip from calories and protein and fat. I'm going to go right to calcium. And you look at blueberries, there's 63 milligrams of calcium versus 267 in black currants. Of course, we use blueberries because everybody knows blueberries. So then you look over there, you look at the calcium, 63 to 267. The phosphorus, 54 to 78. The iron is almost 10 times as much in black currant. And, of course, these nutraceuticals, the thiamine, the riboflavin, and niacin is not even showing up with blueberries. But the big one right here is vitamin C. As we know, that's a really good one. High in antioxidants. The blueberry is 58, black currant 889. It's just amazing to me. Gooseberry is in a similar boat. And, of course, aronia. I wish we had aronia on this one, but that's coming up next. The American black currant we weren't as impressed with. It had uneven ripening, and it's a little bit larger, more resinous flavor. We enjoyed the European much better. Of course, red currants, currants in general are fun ones to have in your system because they actually add a lot of color and people do love these berries. I know I do. So we have the white currant. Pink currant. And these are all great fresh as well as processed, and they're very grower-friendly, if you don't grow them next to white pine. Gooseberry, this is one of my favorites as well. And this is high in vitamin A, C, potassium, and manganese. It's a great source of fiber. American elderberry, we all probably know of this one, but did you know all these great facts? High in flavonoids. Used as a cold and flu nutraceutical. Used, currently. Two times the ORAC value of blueberries. Remember the ORAC value is a comparative deal on the antioxidant value. It has great processing potential, and it is also a native to North America. Seaberry, this one also has a lot of potential. It is high in omega fatty acids. I found that surprising. Very high in vitamins A, E, and C. It has medicinal uses in Europe and Asia. Again it's a nitrogen fixer. It does have potential for invasives. So know your land before you plant this one in there. Know what the potential for invasiveness would be. We have not had that problem. The aronia, this is the antioxidant superstar. This is what we're all here to talk about. I'm not going to go too far into it. I want the second part of the presentation to talk more specifics on this. But it is very high in nutraceuticals, high in anthocyanins and flavonoids, and it is also a North American native. Cornelian cherry, this one I've never heard of before and I've grown to love it. It is like a football-shaped cherry, and it is used for medicinal purposes for over 7,000 years in Greece. It has high vitamin C and calcium pectate fiber. It is high in anthocyanins. It is resistant to frost, and it's an insectary plant. And insectary plant is a plant that actually attracts beneficial insects. Again, we want the beneficial insects. These are great plants to put in any type of system as a companion plant. Highbush cranberry, there's a lot of evidence that this is high nutritional value. It has organic opportunities, but more research needs to be done and we need to develop this more in my opinion. It's very grower-friendly. Sapalta cherry plum is high in anthocyanin, as you can tell by the darker color it has. It's good for processing, could be mechanically harvested. It has heavy fruiting, and it has a very wide range for soils. Now, this is quince. It's high in fiber and pectin, low in carbohydrates, high in nutritional value, and is an insectary plant. And, of course, that's Dale Secher. He's a brainius maximus.

[laughter]

And he's also high in fiber. He's not here to defend himself. I couldn't resist.

[laughter]

Sorry, dad. American persimmons, this is also a very fun, unique fruit. It has vitamin C and calcium, is native to North America, and is cold hardy down to negative 25 Fahrenheit. That's amazing. And it's also a dynamic accumulator. What that is, deep tap root. It mines nutrients and minerals from way down low. When the leaves fall off, it makes it available to all the other plants in your system. European pears. There's a lot of different types of pears we can go with. They most all have vitamin C and calcium, phosphorus and potassium, and, again, dynamic accumulator. Asian pear. Now, the fruiting rose, this one's interesting. This has nutraceutical opportunities to it. It is salt tolerant. So it makes it really good for roadside plantings, for stabilization on that kind of situation. And it's high in vitamin C, A, and E. We did not have a lot of luck with this one. I think it was based on our particular soils. Ivan's beauty, this is a cross between mountain ash and aronia. Very interesting flavor. I think it's going to be more so for processing. Potentially high in anthocyanins, is an insectary plant. I think they need to do more research on this as well. Now, this one shocked the heck out of me. A fall blackberry. This is something that we grown, and blackberries in general, I didn't know this. I learned this for this presentation. They're high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin C, K, B and manganese. High in anthocyanins. Salicylic acid, which has aspirin qualities, ellagic acid, which has possible cancer prevention, and it's native to North America. It makes it a very good potential for any cropping system here. No wonder I like those so much.

[laughs]

Tart cherries is one of my favorites, actually. That's why I had to put it in here. It contains minerals and nutraceuticals, but what shocked me is it has melatonin, which helps us in sleep but also with our hearts, our heart health. Now, black ice plum, there's a lot of different plums. Plums are the most diverse Prunus species found in almost every temperate climate. So we put a lot of different plums out there. I'll only go over a few. Plum 177, this is actually a proprietary one. It's from the fruit-breeding program at UW River Falls, and it is done by Dr. Brian Smith. Plums are high in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. I'm actually considering moving further in with the stone fruits and with the plums on my farm. Alderman plum. And superior plum. They have extremely good potential here for economic turnaround. That's why I'm thinking about planting these on my farm, but that east slope is key. Early sun in the spring is needed for most of these. We have these cards in the back that you can pick up. This will give you the website from the uncommon fruit at CIS and, also, like I said, you can get on CarandaleFarm.com to get more information. And this is, I'm sorry, "bee end" of my presentation.

[laughter]

And now more on the upcoming super fruit aronia to be presented by Roberta Barham of Barham Gardens. Thank you.

[applause]

- All right. Thank you, Cory. I'm Roberta Barham. Partner in crime Kim over there.

[laughs]

We live in Iowa County, Blanchardville area. I became interested in aronia in 2008 when I tasted it in a fruit juice blend and looked at the label that said aronia, like what is that? As soon as I find out anything more about it, I'm going to do something about it. About two months later, Cory's father, Dale, had a field day, invited folks out to learn about aronia, which was part of the uncommon fruit study, and determined that it had some commercial potential. I wasn't interested in getting into it for commercial venture, but we learned we could get in on the ground floor at kind of a decent price. I was thinking 500. Kim said 1,000. I'm like, "Oh, okay." Well, anyway, we kind of get into the commercial aspects. But everything I learn about aronia, I just get more excited every day when I learn more things. So I'm never sorry. Okay, so aronia berry, what is it? How many people here have heard about aronia before this presentation? That's a pretty good representation. Thanks for coming. I hope you pick up something new today. Aronia is indigenous to the United States, to North America, sorry, and it's a super fruit. And I'll get into that, explain why that is later. The scientific name is Aronia melanocarpa, common name black chokeberry. Don't get it confused with chokecherry because it's chokeberry. Anyway, though it was native to North America and the Indians used it medicinally, white settlers found the taste-- They didn't care for the tart, astringent, puckery taste, and named it black chokeberry. And it's been relegated to landscaping for the most part until recently, around 2009, a little before, the health values had started to become rediscovered. And another irony is even though it's native to North America, the Europeans were a little bit ahead of us in rediscovering that nutritional value, and we actually import more from overseas than we grow here now. One of my roles-- I used to be on the board of the Midwest Aronia Association, and you have some flyers that have been handed out to you. As PR director and president, our goal is education, and that's what I'm all about. I want people to know about it, like it, I encourage you to grow it. You can grow it in your backyard. It grows in zones three to eight. It's just really exciting. We need more of a customer and product base, a market for the berry. But I think it has a lot of potential. I'm sold. I love it. And I'll go on to explain why I think it's so great. So, in 2010, USDA did a study of the ORAC values, and they compared it with other fruits. As you can see there, there's two different charts. Some of the information is duplicate, but some is not. For instance, on the right, the aronia berries, the tallest bar, which means it has the highest antioxidant level. Black chokeberry aronia has the highest antioxidant of any fruit. It actually has more than any vegetable. However, things like turmeric and different spices have more. It compares two to three times better than blueberry, and it is even better than acai. I get that question so often. Anyway, so aronia is better in so many ways besides the health nutrition, and I'll get into more of that later. But antioxidants alone are incredible. Elderberry is pretty darn good, but it's even better than that. So it's also high in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins. Anthocyanins are good for ocular functions or your vision. Proanthocyanidins are for heart health and can improve your mortality rate if you consume these healthy fruits compared to elderberry, black currant, red currant, and gooseberry. So we throw a lot of big words out there, and not being a scientist myself, I can take it for granted that I think I know what this means, and really I don't. So I want to spell this out for you, for everyone here and get some more detail behind what the words mean. Antioxidant, what is that? It's a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. So what's oxidation? Well, that's what happens when cells interact with oxygen. When that happens, even though it's a natural process, it can cause a little bit of, break things up in your system and cause some instability with the cells. And why is oxidation bad? As I said before, what happens is free radicals are created when they interact with oxygen. Not every cell, but some. And that's part of that aging process. So when they break apart, they travel through your system and they can create havoc and damage DNA and other cells. So their effect can be cumulative. The antioxidant, not only does it have the potential to inhibit that, it can actually repair cells. So instead of that aging process going unchecked, it can counterbalance that. It can offset it. The purple pigments are what gives aronia and any other purple fruit or vegetable the antioxidant level. Okay, but besides antioxidants, it's good in many other ways. Aronia is really high in dietary fiber. We know what they say about fiber, right? It's good for your colon. It scours the colon and helps prevent colon cancer. Besides that, it's very high in iron and vitamin C. Iron, with about a handful of dried berries or 100 grams, you can get 93% of your daily recommended intake of iron. And since the body does not produce iron, we have to get it from external sources, this is a wonderful source. Natural source for iron. It's a high level of vitamin C, which is good for your collagen or your skin and your connective tissue and fights flu and colds. And one handful of dried aronia berries can give you about 34% of your recommended daily intake. It's also good for your cardiovascular system. The antioxidant levels improve your blood circulation and vessel strength to help with cardiac health. Just to note, at the bottom of these slides I've indicated the source where I've gotten this information, and these sources as well then have sources to actual studies which they got the information from. And, really, with aronia you can kind of go on and on, and I am but I'm not going to be able to cover everything. I just wanted to get you guys a good basic understanding and overview of some of the health values that this fruit has. So besides all the other things we talked about, the iron, the vitamin C, and the antioxidants, it's an anti-inflammatory, which inflammation has been shown to be the cause, the root cause of a lot of our deadly diseases. And it can lower blood sugar. Okay, I've convinced you you love aronia.

[laughter]

And you want to do something about it too. Where do you get them? Well, I would suggest starting out in your local nurseries because it's been known as a landscaping crop. Most landscapers and nurseries actually carry aronia. Be careful of the variety of their cultivar. They've started to develop some-- Even though they're native to North America, there are hybrids. There is a variety called something like autumn bounty, which is more purely decorative and doesn't have the high food value. One of the more common varieties for consumption are viking and narrow. And those, it's kind of another irony, even though they're native to North America, those were developed in Russia. And they think they've been crossed with the mountain ash, as Cory mentioned, but the level of mountain ash is so low that genetically they're nearly identical to the natives. At the Expo here there happens to be a booth, Bellbrook Berry Farm, they're booth number 936. They grow organic aronia. They actually have it packaged and sell it frozen in the food co-ops in some of the local stores. But they also sell bare root plants in season. And the MAA website has an aronia connections page, which their members list their products and services, and some of those people sell plants. Also, internet searches you can come up with some areas. But most locally would probably be your nurseries. Why should you plant? Well, I already covered a lot of the health aspects. But besides that, they're indigenous to the United States. They're grown locally. They're eco-friendly with needing little or no herbicides or pesticides. They're tolerant of wide range of soil and light conditions. Resistant to many native pests and they resist wildlife. And there's some slides at the end that I won't go into in detail because they're too long but indicate more about why that is, and we actually think it's they're high in tannins, which wildlife don't care for the taste, so they tend to stay away from them until they're desperate. We had a year of desperation on our farm with two- or three-foot of snow. The tops got chopped off, but the next year we had the highest yield ever because they self-pruned. So, what are the potential product opportunities? Commercially, though they're hard to find and you probably would do best online and some local, you can find them fresh or frozen, ice cream or sorbet, juices, beverages, candies, jams, wines, and the rest of the things that are listed there, dried. More and more people are coming out with supplements. And where can you find them? In season, you're going to find fresh and frozen at the farmers markets, state or county fairs, local supermarkets. Midwest Aronia Association lists the field days of their member online. And there are other online searches you can do. I've listed some there. The second one is the Bellbrook Berry Farm from Brooklyn, Wisconsin, who actually has the booth. What can you make with aronia berries? Well, this, like, kind of makes me salivate, so I have to forward it. Midwest Aronia Association has produced a cookbook that's available on Amazon, and I have a limited, a few back there. They have 90 recipes in here. A great variety and categories, some of which I'll be covering here. You can also get the recipes on their website. Not all the recipes but some of them are listed on the site. There's even more in here. So, for beverages, what you see there is juice, smoothie, wines, beers. For people new to aronia, when we sell at the Dane County Farmers Market, when we sell fresh direct, I always have a flyer with some basic recipes, and I tell people if you haven't, you know, the taste of aronia in itself is tart, astringent, and puckery. You're not going to find it on a buffet table. I get about a 50/50 response of people that like the taste as-is. Some don't. If you put it in a smoothie, milk offsets the tannins, as well as you keep all the fiber and the freshness of the fruit, and if our use blueberries in your smoothies, you're doing two to three times, yourself two to three times a favor to use aronia. Also, NessAlla Kombucha, I understand, makes a seasonal kombucha with aronia that they find wild. Bakery, endless, endless options there. And, again, the book covers that very well. Cereals and confections, I make a muesli that I put dried aronia in. I eat it every day. It's to die for with chocolate. We have some local chocolatiers that include aronia every now and then. And so recipes, try your own. Jams and jellies, this is a great way to use the fruit. Aronia combines well with almost any fruit. I have not tasted one that it doesn't go well with. If you do a jam, you retain that fiber. Sauces, dips, salsas. This is the thing that kind of surprises me because it's actually really good in all these types of recipes. And, again, the book has some. Our favorite is a meat glaze on strong meats. It's perfect, especially venison and pork. It's good with chicken. I did a coulis, I think it is, I forget, on chicken. Really good. Again, the book and Midwest Aronia Association has more recipes. So, besides food applications, there are many others. For instance, there's cosmetic applications. I've actually used, made an aronia mask myself, and Avon had a product with aronia in it. Animal foods, quite often the pumice can be used in that. You could also use the fruit, but if people don't know what to do with pumice, that's another way of using it. Food additive, that's how I tasted it to begin with. It was a blend in a fruit juice. And it's also very often used as a dye or to improve the color of other products, other juices, other fruits, etc., etc. Diet supplements, fruit leathers are to die for, soaps, powders and many more. So why not add it to your diet? This is a happy family. They grow aronia. They love it. And, again, more recipe ideas on Midwest Aronia Association. Barham Gardens has a Facebook page. Occasionally, I post recipes there, but your best source is really the book. And I've added these slides that are very verbiage filled, and I don't intend to go over them in detail. But they're there as reference. If you print them out, it gives you further details and explanation about which cultivars are good to grow for food. Again, it mentions the narrow and viking there. And at the bottom, I have indicated the website where I got this information from. Plant profile, whether you're growing something in your backyard, if you want a hedge or a windrow, or if you want to do it commercially, what's the best spacing? What can you expect? What should this fruit look like? What can you expect? How tall can it get? How long will it grow? Etc., etc. And this is the spacing I was talking about with the hedgerow or the windbreak or if you're planting commercially for a commercial harvest. Mechanical harvest versus hand harvest, etc., etc. Pruning. When should you prune? How often should you prune? How should you prune? There's some details on that. Pests. As I said before, aronia is very resistant to native pests, but we have invasives that have been bothering it. And the details are there. Harvesting. Again, are you harvesting by hand, commercially harvesting, with mechanically? That kind of information is there. And then, at the bottom, it's telling you the brix level and the pH level at which you can determine the fruit is mature. It's time for questions. And, Cory can--

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