Harvest date affects aronia juice polyphenols, sugars, and antioxidant activity, but not anthocyanin stability

Research by Christine Peters

Harvest date affects aronia juice polyphenols, sugars, and antioxidant activity, but not anthocyanin stability.

Bolling BW1, Taheri R2, Pei R2, Kranz S2, Yu M2, Durocher SN3, Brand MH3.

Food Chem. 2015 Nov 15;187:189-96.

Abstract

The goal of this work was to characterize how the date of harvest of ‘Viking’ aronia berry impacts juice pigmentation, sugars, and antioxidant activity. Aronia juice anthocyanins doubled at the fifth week of the harvest, and then decreased. Juice hydroxycinnamic acids decreased 33% from the first week, while proanthocyanidins increased 64%. Juice fructose and glucose plateaued at the fourth week, but sorbitol increased 40% to the seventh harvest week. Aronia juice pigment density increased due to anthocyanin concentration, and polyphenol copigmentation did not significantly affect juice pigmentation. Anthocyanin stability at pH 4.5 was similar between weeks. However, addition of quercetin, sorbitol, and chlorogenic acid to aronia anthocyanins inhibited pH-induced loss of color. Sorbitol and citric acid may be partially responsible for weekly variation in antioxidant activity, as addition of these agents inhibited DPPH scavenging 13-30%. Thus, aronia polyphenol and non-polyphenol components contribute to its colorant and antioxidant functionality.

 

This study has the tremendous potential to inform growers of optimum harvest time and, more importantly, give clues as to the determination of that time. In reading it, you’ll see beverage industry standards were kept in mind.  Moreover, inclusion of pH measurements in the study is an important consideration for the beverage industry as well as researchers, and for establishing claims about the health benefits of Aronia juice.

 

Aronia berry (Aronia mitschurinii ‘Viking’) inhibits colitis in mice and inhibits T cell tumour necrosis factor-α secretion

Derek A.Martinab1Joan A.SmythcdZhenhuaLiueBradley W.Bollingab1

Journal of Functional Foods

Volume 44, May 2018, Pages 48-57

Abstract

Aronia berries are rich in polyphenols with anti-inflammatory activity. We hypothesized that aronia berry consumption modulates intestinal immune function and T cells. The aims of the present work were to assess the immunomodulatory potential of ‘Viking’ aronia berry (black chokeberry, Aronia mitschurinii) in vivo and to determine the extent aronia berry polyphenols or known microbial polyphenol catabolites inhibit T cell tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α in vitro. Aronia berry consumption increased colonic IL-10 secretion in healthy mice, but did not inhibit ex vivo cytokine secretion of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated spleen and colon tissue. Aronia berry consumption inhibited wasting associated with T cell adoptive transfer and dextran sulphate sodium induced colitis. Aronia extracts, neutral phenols fraction, and the polyphenol catabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid inhibited TNF-α production in Jurkat T cells. Therefore, T cells and microbial catabolism partly mediate the anti-inflammatory effects of aronia consumption in the colon.

 

This thorough study is of particular importance to researchers studying Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which consists of Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis. The escalating costs of treatment for these diseases drives the need for functional foods and translational medicine.  Of particular interest in this study is the measurement of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

 

Anti-inflammatory effects of aronia extract on rat endotoxin-induced uveitis.

Ohgami K1, Ilieva I, Shiratori K, Koyama Y, Jin XH, Yoshida K, Kase S, Kitaichi N, Suzuki Y, Tanaka T, Ohno S.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jan;46(1):275-81.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Aronia crude extract (ACE) with high levels of polyphenol compounds has been reported to have antioxidative effects in vitro and in vivo. In this study, attention was focused on the antioxidant effect of ACE. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of ACE on endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) in rats. In addition, the endotoxin-induced expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 proteins was investigated in a mouse macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7) treated with ACE in vitro, to clarify the anti-inflammatory effect. METHODS:

EIU was induced in male Lewis rats by a footpad injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Immediately after the LPS inoculation, 1, 10, or 100 mg ACE or 10 mg prednisolone was injected intravenously. After 24 hours, the aqueous humor was collected from both eyes, and the number of infiltrating cells, protein concentration, nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin (PG)-E2, and TNF-alpha levels in the aqueous humor were determined. RAW 264.7 cells treated with various concentrations of ACE were incubated with 10 mug/mL LPS for 24 hours. Levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of iNOS and COX-2 proteins was analyzed by Western blot analysis.

RESULTS:

The number of inflammatory cells, the protein concentrations, and the levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha in the aqueous humor in the groups treated with ACE were significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of 100 mg ACE was as strong as that of 10 mg prednisolone. The anti-inflammatory action of ACE was stronger than that of either quercetin or anthocyanin administered alone. ACE also suppressed LPS-induced iNOS and COX-2 protein expressions in RAW 264.7 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest that ACE has a dose-dependent anti-ocular inflammatory effect that is due to the direct blocking of the expression of the iNOS and COX-2 enzymes and leads to the suppression of the production of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha.

 

Studies such as this one are of vital importance to Crohn’s patients as they are susceptible to systemic inflammation. Inflammation that can lead to vision loss if of considerable concern. This studies discusses the good possibility of Aronia crude extract providing significant anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Extracts, anthocyanins and procyanidins from Aronia melanocarpa as radical scavengers and enzyme inhibitors.

Bräunlich M1, Slimestad R, Wangensteen H, Brede C, Malterud KE, Barsett H.

Nutrients. 2013 Mar 4;5(3):663-78.

Abstract

Extracts, subfractions, isolated anthocyanins and isolated procyanidins B2, B5 and C1 from the berries and bark of Aronia melanocarpa were investigated for their antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory activities. Four different bioassays were used, namely scavenging of the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, inhibition of 15-lipoxygenase (15-LO), inhibition of xanthine oxidase (XO) and inhibition of α-glucosidase. Among the anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-arabinoside possessed the strongest and cyanidin 3-xyloside the weakest radical scavenging and enzyme inhibitory activity. These effects seem to be influenced by the sugar units linked to the anthocyanidin. Subfractions enriched in procyanidins were found to be potent α-glucosidase inhibitors; they possessed high radical scavenging properties, strong inhibitory activity towards 15-LO and moderate inhibitory activity towards XO. Trimeric procyanidin C1 showed higher activity in the biological assays compared to the dimeric procyanidins B2 and B5. This study suggests that different polyphenolic compounds of A. melanocarpa can have beneficial effects in reducing blood glucose levels due to inhibition of α-glucosidase and may have a potential to alleviate oxidative stress.

 

Oxidative stress is considered one of the factors that affects patients who suffer from auto-immune diseases. Often, patients suffer from multiple auto-immune diseases, and while a well-managed medication schedule can ameliorate symptoms, they often need immune health support. This study may lead to additional treatment via Aronia supplementation.  

 

Consumption of chokeberry (Aronia mitschurinii) products modestly lowered blood pressure and reduced low-grade inflammation in patients with mildly elevated blood pressure.

Loo BM1, Erlund I2, Koli R3, Puukka P4, Hellström J5, Wähälä K6, Mattila P5, Jula A7.

Nutr Res. 2016 Nov;36(11):1222-1230.

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that consumption of chokeberries may improve cardiovascular disease risk factor profiles. We hypothesized that chokeberries (Aronia mitschurinii) have beneficial effects on blood pressure, low-grade inflammation, serum lipids, serum glucose, and platelet aggregation in patients with untreated mild hypertension. A total of 38 participants were enrolled into a 16-week single blinded crossover trial. The participants were randomized to use cold-pressed 100% chokeberry juice (300 mL/d) and oven-dried chokeberry powder (3 g/d), or matched placebo products in random order for 8 weeks each with no washout period. The daily portion of chokeberry products was prepared from approximately 336 g of fresh chokeberries. Urinary excretion of various polyphenols and their metabolites increased during the chokeberry period, indicating good compliance. Chokeberries decreased daytime blood pressure and low-grade inflammation. The daytime ambulatory diastolic blood pressure decreased (-1.64 mm Hg, P = .02), and the true awake ambulatory systolic (-2.71 mm Hg, P = .077) and diastolic (-1.62 mm Hg, P = .057) blood pressure tended to decrease. The concentrations of interleukin (IL) 10 and tumor necrosis factor α decreased (-1.9 pg/mL [P = .008] and -0.67 pg/mL [P = .007], respectively) and tended to decrease for IL-4 and IL-5 (-4.5 pg/mL [P = .084] and -0.06 pg/mL [P = .059], respectively). No changes in serum lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, and in vitro platelet aggregation were noted with the chokeberry intervention. These findings suggest that inclusion of chokeberry products in the diet of participants with mildly elevated blood pressure has minor beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

 

Since cardiovascular health is a wide-spread concern in the United States, the effect of Aronia extracts on blood-pressure is important. While this disease focused on mild hypertension, the impact of Aronia was statistically significant, and therefore merits further research.  

Harvest date affects aronia juice polyphenols, sugars, and antioxidant activity, but not anthocyanin stability.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Bolling%20BW%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=25977015
Food Chem. 2015 Nov 15;187:189-96.
Abstract
The goal of this work was to characterize how the date of harvest of 'Viking' aronia berry impacts juice
pigmentation, sugars, and antioxidant activity. Aronia juice anthocyanins doubled at the fifth week of
the harvest, and then decreased. Juice hydroxycinnamic acids decreased 33% from the first week, while
proanthocyanidins increased 64%. Juice fructose and glucose plateaued at the fourth week, but sorbitol
increased 40% to the seventh harvest week. Aronia juice pigment density increased due to anthocyanin
concentration, and polyphenol copigmentation did not significantly affect juice pigmentation.
Anthocyanin stability at pH 4.5 was similar between weeks. However, addition of quercetin, sorbitol,
and chlorogenic acid to aronia anthocyanins inhibited pH-induced loss of color. Sorbitol and citric acid
may be partially responsible for weekly variation in antioxidant activity, as addition of these agents
inhibited DPPH scavenging 13-30%. Thus, aronia polyphenol and non-polyphenol components
contribute to its colorant and antioxidant functionality.
Aronia berry (Aronia mitschurinii ‘Viking’) inhibits colitis in mice and inhibits T cell tumour necrosis
factor-α secretion
Derek A.Martin ab1 Joan A.Smyth cd ZhenhuaLiu e Bradley W.Bolling ab1
Journal of Functional Foods
Volume 44, May 2018, Pages 48-57
Abstract
Aronia berries are rich in polyphenols with anti-inflammatory activity. We hypothesized that aronia
berry consumption modulates intestinal immune function and T cells. The aims of the present work
were to assess the immunomodulatory potential of ‘Viking’ aronia berry (black chokeberry, Aronia
mitschurinii) in vivo and to determine the extent aronia berry polyphenols or known microbial
polyphenol catabolites inhibit T cell tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α in vitro. Aronia berry consumption
increased colonic IL-10 secretion in healthy mice, but did not inhibit ex vivo cytokine secretion of
lipopolysaccharide-stimulated spleen and colon tissue. Aronia berry consumption inhibited wasting
associated with T cell adoptive transfer and dextran sulphate sodium induced colitis. Aronia extracts,
neutral phenols fraction, and the polyphenol catabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and 3,4-
dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid inhibited TNF-α production in Jurkat T cells. Therefore, T cells and
microbial catabolism partly mediate the anti-inflammatory effects of aronia consumption in the colon.
Anti-inflammatory effects of aronia extract on rat endotoxin-induced uveitis.
Ohgami K 1 , Ilieva I, Shiratori K, Koyama Y, Jin XH, Yoshida K, Kase S, Kitaichi N, Suzuki Y, Tanaka T, Ohno
S.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jan;46(1):275-81.
Abstract
PURPOSE:
Aronia crude extract (ACE) with high levels of polyphenol compounds has been reported to have
antioxidative effects in vitro and in vivo. In this study, attention was focused on the antioxidant effect of
ACE. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of ACE on endotoxin-induced uveitis
(EIU) in rats. In addition, the endotoxin-induced expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)
and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 proteins was investigated in a mouse macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7)
treated with ACE in vitro, to clarify the anti-inflammatory effect.
METHODS:

EIU was induced in male Lewis rats by a footpad injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Immediately after
the LPS inoculation, 1, 10, or 100 mg ACE or 10 mg prednisolone was injected intravenously. After 24
hours, the aqueous humor was collected from both eyes, and the number of infiltrating cells, protein
concentration, nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin (PG)-E2, and TNF-alpha levels in the aqueous humor
were determined. RAW 264.7 cells treated with various concentrations of ACE were incubated with 10
mug/mL LPS for 24 hours. Levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha were determined by an enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assay. The expression of iNOS and COX-2 proteins was analyzed by Western blot
analysis.
RESULTS:
The number of inflammatory cells, the protein concentrations, and the levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-
alpha in the aqueous humor in the groups treated with ACE were significantly decreased in a dose-
dependent manner. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of 100 mg ACE was as strong as that of 10
mg prednisolone. The anti-inflammatory action of ACE was stronger than that of either quercetin or
anthocyanin administered alone. ACE also suppressed LPS-induced iNOS and COX-2 protein expressions
in RAW 264.7 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.
CONCLUSIONS:
The results suggest that ACE has a dose-dependent anti-ocular inflammatory effect that is due to the
direct blocking of the expression of the iNOS and COX-2 enzymes and leads to the suppression of the
production of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha.

Extracts, anthocyanins and procyanidins from Aronia melanocarpa as radical scavengers and enzyme
inhibitors.
Bräunlich M 1 , Slimestad R, Wangensteen H, Brede C, Malterud KE, Barsett H.
Nutrients. 2013 Mar 4;5(3):663-78.
Abstract
Extracts, subfractions, isolated anthocyanins and isolated procyanidins B2, B5 and C1 from the berries
and bark of Aronia melanocarpa were investigated for their antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory activities.
Four different bioassays were used, namely scavenging of the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical,
inhibition of 15-lipoxygenase (15-LO), inhibition of xanthine oxidase (XO) and inhibition of α-glucosidase.
Among the anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-arabinoside possessed the strongest and cyanidin 3-xyloside the
weakest radical scavenging and enzyme inhibitory activity. These effects seem to be influenced by the
sugar units linked to the anthocyanidin. Subfractions enriched in procyanidins were found to be potent
α-glucosidase inhibitors; they possessed high radical scavenging properties, strong inhibitory activity
towards 15-LO and moderate inhibitory activity towards XO. Trimeric procyanidin C1 showed higher
activity in the biological assays compared to the dimeric procyanidins B2 and B5. This study suggests
that different polyphenolic compounds of A. melanocarpa can have beneficial effects in reducing blood
glucose levels due to inhibition of α-glucosidase and may have a potential to alleviate oxidative stress.

Consumption of chokeberry (Aronia mitschurinii) products modestly lowered blood pressure and
reduced low-grade inflammation in patients with mildly elevated blood pressure.
Loo BM 1 , Erlund I 2 , Koli R 3 , Puukka P 4 , Hellström J 5 , Wähälä K 6 , Mattila P 5 , Jula A 7 .
Nutr Res. 2016 Nov;36(11):1222-1230.
Abstract
Previous studies suggest that consumption of chokeberries may improve cardiovascular disease risk
factor profiles. We hypothesized that chokeberries (Aronia mitschurinii) have beneficial effects on blood
pressure, low-grade inflammation, serum lipids, serum glucose, and platelet aggregation in patients with

untreated mild hypertension. A total of 38 participants were enrolled into a 16-week single blinded
crossover trial. The participants were randomized to use cold-pressed 100% chokeberry juice (300 mL/d)
and oven-dried chokeberry powder (3 g/d), or matched placebo products in random order for 8 weeks
each with no washout period. The daily portion of chokeberry products was prepared from
approximately 336 g of fresh chokeberries. Urinary excretion of various polyphenols and their
metabolites increased during the chokeberry period, indicating good compliance. Chokeberries
decreased daytime blood pressure and low-grade inflammation. The daytime ambulatory diastolic blood
pressure decreased (-1.64 mm Hg, P = .02), and the true awake ambulatory systolic (-2.71 mm Hg, P =
.077) and diastolic (-1.62 mm Hg, P = .057) blood pressure tended to decrease. The concentrations of
interleukin (IL) 10 and tumor necrosis factor α decreased (-1.9 pg/mL [P = .008] and -0.67 pg/mL [P =
.007], respectively) and tended to decrease for IL-4 and IL-5 (-4.5 pg/mL [P = .084] and -0.06 pg/mL [P =
.059], respectively). No changes in serum lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, and in vitro platelet aggregation
were noted with the chokeberry intervention. These findings suggest that inclusion of chokeberry
products in the diet of participants with mildly elevated blood pressure has minor beneficial effects on
cardiovascular health.

Research on various food processing methodologies

High pressure processing (HPP) of aronia berry puree: Pilot scal processing and a self-life study
BoYuan ab Mary-Grace C.Danao ab MeiLu a Steven A.Weier b Jayne E.Stratton ab Curtis L.Weller ab
Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies
Volume 47, June 2018, Pages 241-248
Abstract
Aronia berry puree was subjected to 400 and 600 MPa, 5 min high pressure processing (HPP)
and then microbial shelf-life and quality changes of aronia puree during 8-week refrigerated
storage were evaluated. HPP reduced the aerobic plate counts (APC) significantly and APC
changed insignificantly during the 8-week storage. HPP completely inactivated yeasts and
molds, and no regrowth was observed during 8-week storage. In contrast, yeasts in untreated
puree increased from 4.7 to 6.1 log CFU/g. Physicochemical properties, total phenolic contents
and antioxidant capacities of aronia puree had insignificant changes right after HPP and during
8-week refrigerated storage. Total anthocyanin content of untreated samples and those treated
at 400 MPa decreased continuously during the storage. HPP, especially processing at 600 MPa
for 5 min, could be an effective preservation technique for microbial population reduction,
quality retention, and shelf-life extension of aronia puree.
Industrial relevance
The growing demand for minimal processed and antioxidant-rich aronia berry products has
stimulated the interest of food industry. Industrial sector demands methods to extend the
microbial shelf-life and maintain its quality and nutritional values of aronia berry products
during refrigerated storage. The results of this study demonstrated that HPP is effective in
extending the microbial shelf-life, maintaining the quality and preserving the bioactive
antioxidants of aronia berry puree during 8 weeks of refrigerated storage.
Characterisation of Aronia powders obtained by different drying processes.
Horszwald A 1 , Julien H, Andlauer W.
Food Chem.
2013 Dec 1;141(3):2858-63.
Abstract
Nowadays, food industry is facing challenges connected with the preservation of the highest
possible quality of fruit products obtained after processing. Attention has been drawn to Aronia
fruits due to numerous health promoting properties of their products. However, processing of
Aronia, like other berries, leads to difficulties that stem from the preparation process, as well as
changes in the composition of bioactive compounds. Consequently, in this study, Aronia
commercial juice was subjected to different drying techniques: spray drying, freeze drying and
vacuum drying with the temperature range of 40-80 °C. All powders obtained had a high
content of total polyphenols. Powders gained by spray drying had the highest values which
corresponded to a high content of total flavonoids, total monomeric anthocyanins, cyaniding-3-
glucoside and total proanthocyanidins. Analysis of the results exhibited a correlation between
selected bioactive compounds and their antioxidant capacity. In conclusion, drying techniques
have an impact on selected quality parameters, and different drying techniques cause changes
in the content of bioactives analysed. Spray drying can be recommended for preservation of

bioactives in Aronia products. Powder quality depends mainly on the process applied and
parameters chosen. Therefore, Aronia powders production should be adapted to the
requirements and design of the final product.

High pressure processing (HPP) of aronia berry purée: Effects on physicochemical properties,
microbial counts, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant capacities
BoYuan ab Mary-Grace C.Danao ab Jayne E.Stratton ab Steven A.Weier a Curtis L.Weller ab MeiLu b
Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies
Volume 47, June 2018, Pages 249-255
Abstract
The effect of high pressure processing (HPP) at 200 to 600 MPa for 2.5 or 5 min on
physicochemical properties (color, pH, titratable acidity, total soluble solids content/TSSC, pulp
content, particle size distribution, and viscosity), microbial counts (aerobic bacteria, yeast and
mold counts), bioactive compounds (total phenolic and anthocyanin contents), and antioxidant
capacities (DPPH radical scavenging capacity and ferric reducing antioxidant power) of aronia
berry purée were investigated. All measurements were compared between HPP treated and
untreated purées. TSSC and viscosity decreased significantly when pressurized above 400 MPa
for 2.5 min and at all HPP conditions, respectively. Other physicochemical properties changed
insignificantly after HPP. Pressurization at 400 and 600 MPa both effectively reduced yeasts and
molds to below 1 log CFU/g, and reduced aerobic bacteria to <2 log CFU/g only when
pressurized for 5 min. No significant reduction in phenolic contents or antioxidant capacities in
pressurized purée was observed.
Industrial relevance
Purée is a feasible form of aronia berry used as food product, considering the astringent taste
of whole aronia berry. The results of this study suggest that HPP will significantly reduce the
microbial counts of aronia berry purée, while retaining antioxidant capacities and most
physicochemical properties of aronia berry purée. The outcomes could help the food industry
apply HPP to the commercial production of aronia berry purée-based food products to meet
the quality standards with safety ensured.

The influence of different the drying methods on chemical composition and antioxidant activity
in chokeberries
JustynaSamoticha a AnetaWojdyło a KrzysztofLech b
LWT – Food Science and Technology
Volume 66, March 2016, Pages 484-489
Abstract
Drying has been long known and widely used method of food preservation. The aim of this
study was to determine the effect of different drying methods (by freeze-drying (FD), vacuum
(VD), convective drying (CD), microwave (VMD) and combined method (CVM)) on the quality
factors of chokeberry fruit, including phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity, and color. All
products were characterized by water activity which determines their storage stability. The
highest content of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity were determined in freeze-

dried samples, compared with fresh fruits (total phenolic in gallic acid equivalents-
8008 mg/100 g dm, anthocyanins- 3917 mg/100 g dm). The increase in air temperature during
CD as well as the increase in material temperature during VMD deteriorated dried product
quality in terms of the content of phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity, and color, which
was correlated with anthocyanin content. A new combined CVM method allowed obtaining
high quality dried material compared to the CD and VMD methods applied separately. The
drying process affected changes in the appearance and brightening of color, and also increased
the contribution of yellow color in the fruits. The results show that the quality of dried
chokeberry depends on the method and conditions of fruit drying.

R.W. Knudsen Family® celebrates the Simplicity of Summer with Just Juice Line

CHICO, Calif., June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The R.W. Knudsen Family® Just Juice products deliver full fruit flavor and uncompromised taste for consumers that want just the best. These single-fruit, unsweetened, 100 percent juices provide delicious flavor because they’re made with juice concentrates.

Click here to view full story

Farm Bill Funding Available to Organic Producers and Handlers

Click here to view full article at

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that approximately $13 million in Farm Bill funding is now available for organic certification cost-share assistance, making certification more accessible for small certified producers and handlers.

“Consumer demand for organic products is surging across the country,” said Secretary Tom Vilsack. “To meet this demand, we need to make sure that small farmers who choose to grow organic products can afford to get certified. Organic food is now a multi-billion dollar industry, and helping this sector continue to grow creates jobs across the country.”

The certification assistance is distributed through two programs within the Agricultural Marketing Service. Through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $11.5 million is available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. Through the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, an additional $1.5 million is available to organic operations in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

These programs provide cost-share assistance through participating states to USDA certified organic producers and handlers for certification-related expenses they incur from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Payments cover up to 75% of an individual producer’s or handler’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per certification. To receive cost-share assistance, organic producers and handlers should contact their state agencies. Each state will have their own guidelines and requirements for reimbursement, and the National Organic Program (NOP) will assist states as much as possible to successfully implement the programs. State contact information can be found on the NOP Cost Share Website, www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCostSharing.

In 2012 alone, USDA issued close to 10,000 cost-share reimbursements totaling over $6.5 million, to support the organic industry and rural America. Additional information about resources available to small and mid-sized producers, including accessing capital, risk management, locating market opportunities and land management is available on USDA’s Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.

USDA has a number of new and expanded efforts to connect organic farmers and businesses with resources that will ensure the continued growth of the organic industry domestically and abroad. During this Administration, USDA has signed four major trade agreements on organic products, and is also helping organic stakeholders access programs that support conservation, provide access to loans and grants, fund organic research and education, and mitigate pest emergencies. Through the NOP, USDA has helped organic farmers and businesses achieve $35 billion annually in U.S. retail sales. The organic community includes over 25,000 organic businesses in more than 120 different countries around the world.

This funding announcement for organic certification cost-share assistance was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
– See more at: http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_breaking-news/2014-07-22/farm-bill-funding-available-to-organic-producers-and-handlers/?email_uid=83eff20bf6/list_id=396c189146/#sthash.2RdBUGyM.dpuf

Cicada Damage

06/26/2014
MAA Members reporting Cicada damage to Aronia plantsCicada Damage

A couple of days ago, an MAA member from Leon, IA reported damage to her Aronia plants:

The 17 year brood of cicadas in the area was the suspected culprit.
Another member (St. Charles, IA) with similar cicada damage to his plants replied with this source: http://www.gardenersnet.com/atoz/cicada.htm. It appears to have very good coverage of the basic topics relating to cicada infestation, life span, reporting, siting data (http://www.gardenersnet.com/atoz/cicada-watch-sighting-2014.htm), recommended prevention, etc. According to the source, the best protection is ¼” netting wrapped all around the tree or bush. Mature trees are not often affected negatively, but younger plants can experience severe damage, since the female creates a slit in the branches (1/2” or less in diameter) to lay eggs, which subsequently weakens the branch, causing breaks and possible plant death.
This member estimates a 15-25% yield loss due to cicada damage and believes his 4-year plants will survive, but that first and second year plants may experience some plant morbidity.
Northern Illinois may be spared from periodic (13 or 17 year cycle cicada broods) this year. A Crete, Illinois member offered this link explaining the periodic infestation and its impact on northern Illinois:
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/newsdetail.cfm?NewsID=30825.
MAA would like members to contact us to report your experiences with cicadas this year and what type and of damage you may be experiencing along with the extent of that damage.
Please email Scott Boersma, scottboersma47@hotmail.com with whatever information you may have regarding cicadas in your area.

Thank you,
MAA Board

Wisconsin Ag News Headlines: CAFES Honors UW-RF Faculty Member

A professor of horticulture and state extension commercial fruit specialist has been honored with the 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award by College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Brian Smith was recognized during the group’s recent annual awards banquet. It’s the highest award bestowed upon a faculty member in the college.

The awardee is also honored nationally with the Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture in recognition of meritorious efforts in college teaching.

Since arriving at UW-RF in 1988, Smith has held a split appointment: 67 percent teaching in the horticulture program and 33 percent Cooperative Extension to support commercial fruit growers in the state. Over the years, he has taught eight different horticulture courses, including a general education course he co-developed, ‘Plants and Society.’ He has an active fruit research program and engages students in his work, teaching them the methodology of research.

Smith’s fruit research program focuses on the development and evaluation of new fruit cultivars hardy enough for the upper Midwest. Smith is a co-developer on seven patented raspberry cultivars, the sole breeder of the BlackIce plum, and has several strawberry, plum, and apricot selections in the plant patent pipeline. He has also initiated an Aronia melanocarpa (chokeberry) breeding program. Aronia is native to Wisconsin and is a new fruit crop for the state. His research work has attracted nearly $900,000 in extramural funding over the years.

As an extension specialist, Smith develops and delivers educational and research presentations to a diverse client base including growers, master gardeners and extension colleagues.

Thinking Inside The Box: Packaging Produces Sales For Waterford Winery

Kent Marrs’ Village Winery and Vineyards near Waterford isn’t your typical Loudoun winery. Here you’ll find ample use of elderberries and fruits as main ingredients, but it is also the packaging of the varied treats that sets the operation apart from its peers.

Village Winery is the first in Loudoun to move entirely to box, rather than bottle, packaging for its wines, fruit teas and syrups.

As Marrs tells his customers, he brings together “Old world winemaking and 21st century wine packaging.”

It has been more than a year since Marrs dispensed with glass bottles and opted for boxes with plastic liners and dispensers—for all his products. The walls of the tasting room are now lined with rows of white boxes bearing the Village Winery and Vineyards logo. So far, Marrs has found box packaging to be safer, cleaner, more convenient and less expensive. Most importantly, the change has resulted in boosted sales, he said. By lowering his production costs significantly, Marrs can offer his boxed wines at lower prices. A 3-liter box of reds, for example, retails for $35. His apple wines retail for $30.

Marrs, whose day job is working in the Loudoun County Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, started his winery in 2005, and quickly expanded to include berry products, grown on the farm, starting with elderberries. He has 10 acres under production.

His products include mostly red French Vinifera wines; fruit wines including apple wine; raspberry apple wine and the Triple Threat apple/raspberry/elderberry wine; and fruit teas, elderberry and aronia (chokeberry); and an elderberry vinaigrette. The sweetness of the elderberry syrup makes for a good topping to pancakes, cheesecake, ice cream, yogurt and desserts. The fruit teas are diluted with water, as is the elderberry syrup, but coming soon will be a line of ready-to-go drinks. “People like the fruit teas, they’re direct, like sodas,” he said. The aronia component has proved to be a successful addition, as it is not as strongly sweet as the elderberry.

That elderberry and aronia are the most popular offerings at the winery, pleasing customers with the lightly astringent taste and the health values of the two berries that are very high in antioxidants. “We’re tapping into people’s desires for healthy drinks,” Marrs said.

The raspberry apple and Triple Threat trio wines also are popular, especially for what Marrs terms a refreshing patio drink. Of his reds, he sells a red blend, petit verdot, cab franc and merlot. New releases include elderberry apple wine coming in May, and, in June, an elderberry and aronia tea with lemon, to give it a slightly tangy finish, in a 24-ounce bottle that makes 4.5 quarts. In October, Marrs plans to release an elderberry and aronia syrup as well as restock the popular elderberry vinaigrette.

Recognizing people’s wish for increasing convenience, late this year Marrs plans to begin introducing 20-ounce ready-to-go drink versions of the teas—elderberry and aronia, elderberry and aronia with lemon, and an elderberry and aronia sport drink. Also in that batch, Marrs plans to introduce a 5-gallon bag-in-box package of elderberry and aronia tea for commercial carbonated beverage dispensers.

“Switching to box packaging has been a boon, I can save so much cost in packaging,” he said. “It’s absolutely airtight, stays fresh—and my sales are up five-fold,” Marrs said.

He said he was surprised to find the wine gets better as it sits in the bag, rather than suffer oxidization as in an opened bottle. “That’s because the bag shrinks as you drink it down, and no air gets in,” Marrs said.

A single box holds the same amount as four bottles, so three boxes equal a case of wine. Using boxes, Marrs can sell reds for the equivalent of $8 a bottle—far less than good local wine sells in glass.

To the best of his knowledge, Marrs is the only Virginia vintner using exclusively boxes and bags. “I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s different,” Marrs said of his approach. “What I am doing is still emphasizing the wine-making operation, but I’m putting it in an economical package and making it convenient.”

The winery is located at 40405 Brown’s Lane in Waterford. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 540-882-3780 or email info@villagewineryandvineyard.com.

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 By Margaret Morton Leesuburg

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