What information can you give me on elderberry production?

T.G.
Wisconsin
Answer:
Thank you for calling ATTRA to request information about elderberry production. Elderberry, Sambucas Canadensis, is a native plant throughout much of the U.S. The fruit and flowers are edible, and are traditionally used for making wines, jams, syrups, and natural food colorings. The fruit is currently receiving increased attention because of its antioxidant and antiviral activity. At the 2010 Missouri Small Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Conference, researchers and growers extolled the virtues of elderberries. Terry Durham, a Missouri grower, has planted at least 17 acres to elderberries; the juice is sold in 11-ounce bottles priced at $15 per bottle. The Missouri River Hills Elderberry Producers Cooperative will host a conference and farm tour on June 17 and 19, 2010 at the Carver Center, Jefferson City, Missouri, and Eridu Farms, near Hartsburg. Call 573-999-3034 or check the website www.elderberrylife.com for details.Other resources provide information on propagation, planting, pruning, fertilization and irrigation, weed control, and harvest. The bulletin Growing Currants, Gooseberries, and Elderberries in Wisconsin should be available through your local University of Wisconsin Extension office. You can also access it online at: http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A1960.PDFBirds can be a significant problem on all small fruits. (Cardinals, brown thrashers, and mockingbirds stripped the fruit on the one elderberry shrub that volunteered in my market garden; maybe it was planted by the same birds?) Netting may be an effective tactic for saving the berries for your own harvest.As with any perennial crop, it is best to eliminate as many weeds as possible before you plant elderberries. This can be done through cover cropping before planting, and mulching the shrubs annually after planting. Mulching also helps to keep the soil cool and moist during the typically dryer and hotter months of summer. Resources:
Anon. 2009. Minor Fruits: Elderberries, Sambucus spp. Cornell University Department of Horticulture. 2 p. Online at: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/mfruit/elderberries.html. Byers, Patrick, and Andrew Thomas. No date. Elderberry Research and Production in Missouri. University of Missouri Cooperative Extension and Southwest Research and Education Center. 5 p. http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/Berries/specialtyfru%20pdf/elderberrymissouri.pdfByers, Patrick, and Andrew Thomas. 2009. Elderberry: Culture and Potential in Missouri. Microsoft PowerPoint presentation at Small Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference. 7 p. Online at: http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu/assets/commercial/ByersandThomas.pdfDurham, Terry. 2010. Elderberrylife newsletter. 2 p. Online at: http://elderberrylife.com/lettercurr.htmlRoper, Teryl R., Daniel L. Mahr, and Patricia S. McManus. 1998. Growing Currants, Gooseberries, and Elderberries in Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. 12 p. Online at: http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A1960.PDF