Where is your farm located? What year was the farm started?
Blazerfarmz Aronia Berry
Blazerfarmz is small privately held company out of Amity, Missouri with property and ties in northwestern Missouri, northeastern Pennsylvania, and Long Island, New York. We’re located approximately a half-hour north of Kansas City. We are a new business started in 2010 and have aronia bushes that were established in 2007.
Do you only grow Aronia Berries?
Blazerfarmz aronia berry
We are a domestic grower that is primarily focused on producing aronia berries. We currently grow a few varieties including the ‘Viking’ cultivar, but all of which are classified as Aronia melanocarpa (commonly called the black chokeberry). We also grow a limited quantity of black currants, black raspberries and have plans to expand into elderberries as well.
What made you decide to grow Aronia Berries?
Blazerfarmz aronia berry
The virtually untold story of the remarkable aronia berry has something to do with it. When we looked into alternative farming for smaller acreages, we discovered an overlooked, undervalued berry that Native American Indians valued for it’s natural healing properties and realized that the aroniaberry has enormous potential.
We then decided to do a comparison of the healthy berries available in the marketplace (included açaí and goji) and found aronia to be a superior choice for a number of reasons.
We believe we found a better natural antioxidant berry in aronia when we did a direct comparison to others. We know that açaí and goji berries are imported into this country from around the world, and that they normally come in a dehydrated state. We also know how heavily these berries are processed, packed, and shipped. This amount of processing has a huge effect on their beneficial value.
Take açaí juice for example. The açaí products found in grocery stores are so commercially processed and clarified that they are diminished with regard to nutritional and antioxidant capability. The nutritional and antioxidant value of the berry starts deteriorating within 24 hours of picking. Açaí berries are made up of almost 80% seeds, which does not leave much room for juice at all. The most edible part of the fruit is the pulp. This mix is typically sour to taste, and it is preferred to be diluted with other juices to be sweetened.
So, if we were to do a direct comparison of healthy berries it would be based upon either on a de-hydrated state, or a preferred natural fresh weight (FW) berry. Then I would provide an unbiased fair comparison.
Next, The issue of supplying the market with a fresh local domestic berry verses an imported one is a no-brainer. Which one do you prefer?
Finally, if you like to compare numbers, you would consider the total the oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC value. A test tube measurement of antioxidant strength, the ORAC, demonstrates the aroniaberry has one of the highest values yet recorded—16,062 μ mol TE/100g. Total anthocyanin content in aroniaberries is 1480 mg per 100g. of fresh berries and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100g. Both values are among the highest measured in plants to date. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database).
I look at results, so if you do a little research I think you will also find enough antidotal evidence, clinical studies, and personal testimonies that are more than compelling as to aronia’s healing potential.
We do feel this is the next BIG thing in the berry and natural remedy world, and we want to share it. This is why we started growing aroniaberries.
How are the prices of your Aronia Berry products in comparison to similar products at say, Whole Foods, for example?
Blazerfarmz – aronia berry
I would definitely say were price competitive. I believe we have a lower price point than anyone else. I do not see “fresh-frozen” aroniaberries at Whole Foods, and as a matter of fact, there are very few avenues where the average consumer in either household or bulk quantities can purchase fresh frozen aroniaberries. Aroniaberries are not on your store shelves, yet! They should be, in Europe they are well known and widely available. It’s even a popular ice cream flavor. Aroniaberries are a unique natural food that is available in limited quantities, like elderberries. I believe consumer demand and awareness will dictate if it becomes a commodity like cranberries.
Did you know that aronia is already present in some beverages? You might take a closer look at the list of ingredients on some pre-packaged products and see that aroniaberry juice concentrate is a primary ingredient in some juice cocktails.
Are you a PYO (Pick Your Own) Farm?
Blazerfarmz – aronia berry
No. We are currently non-traditional green grower and an online retailer of our products. Those products and more about our operation can be viewed at: http://www.blazerfarmz.com
Can people visit your farm? What are the visiting hours of your fruit farm? What time of year or times of year would you suggest visiting?
We are not setup as a PYO, but as a premier grower and distributor. You can visit us virtually online and see our progress throughout the year. We have no formal tours scheduled at our farms. However, anyone interested in the berries or perhaps the farming aspect is always welcome to come visit. Contact us through the company website at: www.blazerfarmz.com.
Our aroniaberries are a seasonal fruit and will be ready to be harvested about 10 days after the change of color of the berries. The ripening takes place normally around the months of August through early September. Our other crops are black currants, black raspberries, and elderberry, which are earlier season berries.
What are some of the benefits of the aronia berry?
Blazerfarmz – aronia berry
Well, there are a number of them. Repeated research indicates that aronia has high anti-inflammatory properties, produces essential good cholesterol for the body, improves the memory and the digestive system, promotes good urinary tract health, is good for cardiac health, and aids in blood sugar maintenance. Aronia also contains high amounts of flavonoids and antioxidants, folic acid and essential vitamins like vitamin C, E, B2, and B6. The bottom line is that the aroniaberry fruit has enormous potential as a natural healer. We know we have a berry that needs to be re-discovered. Aronia is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet with the 2nd highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value ever tested by the USDA! (ORAC value of 16,062 micromoles of Trolox Eq. per 100 g. of fresh wt.) Aroniaberries are also outrageously high in very important procyanidins, anthocyanins and phenolic acids. Aronia has the highest concentration of procyanidins of any plant known to man and one of the highest anthocyanin concentrations known (1480 mg/100 g. of fresh wt.) in fresh fruit. Anthocyanins act as powerful antioxidants by scavenging free radicals, thereby acting as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
What are the [dishes] that you make with the aronia berry? I see you have concentrates, Berry Chews, Jams, Jellies and Fresh-Frozen Berries. Anything new for 2011?
You can make juices, smoothies, baked goods, teas, wines, and sauces with the aroniaberries. However, we also believe in the value of the whole fruit. The berries themselves go great in both hot and cold cereals, as well as oatmeal. Aronia is a very dynamic berry that works well as a natural colorant and has the ability to enhance flavor combinations in a number of dishes.
For this year we are busy trying to add some exciting new products and antioxidant blends to our offerings such as juice, concentrates, and powders. Blazerfarmz’ primary focus is to educate people and have them try this very unique berry.
Do you have a book of aronia berry recipes that you sell?
Blazerfarmz – Wonderful Aroniaberry Scones
We have twenty-five recipes that we have added to our website that are FREE. Blazerfarmz Recipes. Basically, you can use aroniaberry just like you would a blueberry, in any recipe. However, we are true fans of the berries just the way God made them.
What does an aronia berry taste like in your opinion?
Fresh-picked aronia can be astringent, thus the name chokeberry, but when the fruit is frozen they sweeten to the taste. In the berry world, the saying is “Tart is smart!”. Anthocyanins give the aroniaberries the high antioxidant qualities, but also the tartness. When the berries are frozen, cooked, baked, or added in with other foods, they taste great. That’s also why they make such
good jams and jellies.
So can people buy aronia berries online and have them sent to them?
Yes. We are an online retailer. You can order berries and have them delivered anywhere in the continental U.S. We pride ourselves on offering select fresh-frozen aroniaberries. Find us online at: www.blazerfarmz.com
You can also join BlazerFarmz on Facebook.