An alternative crop has made its way to Nebraska.
Some farmers now growing the aronia berry which is also known as the chokeberry.
“We knew corn and soybeans weren’t doing real well right now so we thought we’d put a few of our acres to this,” said Mike Rader, owner of Rader Farms.
Rader Farms tells NTV News they started growing the aronia berry three years ago all because they heard the income potential was 10 times more profitable than corn.
At a low time for farmers across Nebraska, Rader Farms says it was the perfect time to put some of their acres towards the aronia berry.
“They were recommended to us by a friend. There are some people in Hastings who have planted them and are doing well with them. We just thought it’s an alternative crop. We are hoping there is going to be a good market for them. There is starting to be,” said Rader.
Rader saying this is the first year they are truly harvesting them, bringing in equipment all the way from Poland.
“This machine just shakes them off and runs them up the conveyor. Then you run a fan to get rid of the leaves and such. You put them in totes and then into a reefer. They have to be cooled down to 40 degrees within four hours so that they don’t spoil,” said Rader.
Now, Rader Farms has over 38,000 plants on around 28,000 acres collecting around five pounds per bush.
“They’re selling well on the coasts already. There’s going to be a company trying to get it into Colorado more. Around here it’s in the Hyvee stores and then Hastings has it in a few stores too,” said Rader.
A registered dietician with Hyvee says people consume the berries because of their antioxidant properties.
“Because of all of the disease fighting properties that also come along with it like cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and macular degeneration, etc. People are always looking for something to help prevent any type of disease so it’s definitely becoming more and more popular,” said Kaiti George, a registered dietician with Hyvee.
If you’re interested in learning more information on the berries and their health benefits, you can click here.