At Elder Farms, Quality Matters We are elderberry farmers, beekeepers, and Hemp farmers.
American Elderberry vs European Elderberry
Elderberry plants are tall shrubs with fast-growing canes that produce white flowers and then pollinate into berries in distinct clusters known as cymes. There are elderberry species that produce red fruit, yellow fruit, or fruit that ranges from blue to black in color. Only the species with blue/black colored berries are edible. Interest in elderberries for fruit and flower products has been rising rapidly since 2010 in North America due to recently rediscovered health benefits.
The two main species of elderberry used in commercial elderberry production are the European elderberry, Sambucus nigra and the American elderberry, Sambucus canadensis. The American elderberry can be grown in nearly all 50 states and is considered especially hardy. Both Sambucus canadensis and Sambucus nigra have dark, black fruit with a purplish cast that produces a dark purple juice. There are key differences between the s. nigra and s. canadensis berry that we believe makes the American elderberry the superior choice for your family when using as a daily supplement, and especially during cold and flu season.
For starters, imported European elderberry can be found in about 95% of Elderberry products on retail shelves in America. Elderberry has long been a staple in European culture with centuries of recorded use. Elderberry has long been used to relieve cold/flu symptoms, get rid of a sore throat, break a fever and much more. In America, the medicinal properties seem to have been forgotten about, with the Native Americans being the last people to use the Elder as medicine until recently. Recent studies have shown some impressive validity as to what the centuries of use have suggested!The American elderberry and European elderberry are both full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and are loaded with antioxidants. What makes the elderberry especially unique, however, is the unusually high amounts of micronutrients known as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and bioflavonoids. We would like to spend a little extra time on these micronutrients and present some interesting studies that have been done.Flavonoids and bioflavonoids are a class of plant compounds known as polyphenols, which are responsible for the vivid colors of plants. Polyphenols have been shown to possess anti-oxidative activity in the body, as well as neuroprotective, anti-viral and possibly even anti-cancer activity. This study published by the National Institutes of Health showed that the flavonoids in elderberry were able to bind to H1N1 virus and prevent it from infecting host cells in-vitro.
Anthocyanins are what makes natural foods red, purple, or black. The darker the pigment, the more anthocyanins the food has. And they certainly don’t call it the black elderberry for nothing! Elderberries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins and have strong antioxidant capacity. Anthocyanins, when included in the human diet, have shown to carry a number of therapeutic benefits including reduced risk of coronary heart disease, reduced risk of stroke, anticarcinogenic activity, improved visual acuity, and improved cognitive behavior. It’s important to note that there are some key differences between the anthocyanins found in the American elderberry vs. the European elderberry. For one thing, the European species contains primarily four anthocyanins, while the North American variety contains seven. But the American elder anthocyanins have shown another important difference, which helps explain the higher antioxidant potential. The anthocyanins in the American elder are acylated. This means that they show a resistance to both heat and light, protecting the antioxidants from breaking down during the processing stage (Kikuzaki, Nakatani).
This makes S. canadensis a better candidate for use in end products as the acylated anthocyanins will have greater color stability and maintain a better antioxidant capacity. Additionally, due to the surplus of European elderberries on the market, S. nigra berries sit in cold storage for extended periods of time before being brought out into production. It seems that for folks living in America who wish to reap the rewards of elderberry’s anti-viral, immune-boosting, micro-nutrient rich, superberry powers, local is better in more ways than one!
Top Quality Ingredients/Third Party Testing
At Elder Farms, our primary commitment is to the environment and the people that we love to serve. By using only the most environmentally friendly practices, and organic ingredients in every way possible, this helps ensure we provide some of the highest quality natural supplements for you and your family to enjoy. Our hemp extract is sourced only from organically US grown, farm bill compliant, industrial hemp (cannabis) plants. We third party test to ensure potency, purity, and transparency. Our broad-spectrum hemp extract products contain no detectable amounts of THC and are batch tested to provide consistency, with no worries for your daily lifestyle. To view our third party test results, visit the link here.
Interested in commercially growing elderberry?
The United States is desperately undersupplied with North American elderberry ingredients. With most estimations of around 1,500 commercial acres nationwide, and in comparison to Europe’s 30,000 commercial acres; we NEED more elderberry farmers in America! Missouri currently is the elderberry capital of the United States with around 500 acres. Our climate in the Midwest is well suited for the S. Canadensis species of elderberry to thrive and be profitable. Elder Farms’ network of dedicated farmers is over 100 acres as of writing this in December 2019. We provide wholesale elderberry cuttings, rooted plants, and even custom installations to farmers interested in diversifying into growing elderberry on their farm. At Elder Farms, we believe in putting the American farmer first. We refuse to use imported European elderberry in our products, for the simple reason of using only the most effective ingredients in our products at the best possible price for you, our customers, and to support farmers here at home. In doing so, we pay fair market value to all of our partnered farmers for their elderberries, elderflowers, and elderberry cuttings based on annual market conditions.
University of Missouri figures project the demand for the rapidly growing American elderberry industry to not be met until we are growing around 22,000 acres devoted to commercial use nationwide. This presents an unusual opportunity for farmers to diversify their farms from traditional agriculture, to growing an environmentally friendly crop with centuries of recorded medical use. Elderberry will fruit for 25-30 years and can yield conservative figures of 4,000lbs of berries per acre annually. Click this link to view the University of Missouri’s Guide to Growing and Marketing Elderberries.Elder Farms’ farmers must commit to growing naturally without the use of pesticides or synthetic chemicals. As an industry leader, we walk all of our farmers through the necessary steps to being a successful and profitable elderberry producer.