Submitted by Sherry Gerlock/MAA member of Elk Horn, Iowa
It was a cool, rainy morning at the “What” Berry Farm Aronia Field Day. It didn’t stop friends and family with curiosity, vision, and questions to arrive at an aronia farm that two people had dreamt and built in 2011. Dean Mangrich and Donna Costello launched their 3rd annual field day event. Morning coffee and aronia juice, along with delicious aronia homemade goodies filled our tummies as we listened to speakers and had a tour of the farm.
Attendees were able to learn about the Victor Harvester. The first Victor Harvester sold and delivered to the US took a long journey, but arrived just in time, along with representatives from Poland to explain the workings of the machine. Berries were harvested and people watched with eager questions. Adriana Foxen, County Executive Director of Buchanon County Farm Service Agency spoke about N.A.P. Insurance. Kent Friechrichsen, organic grower and specialist in organic fertility, spoke on growing healthy, high quality plants to produce high quality food. After a delicious lunch of aronia brats and hamburgers, grilled to perfection, we had three more workshops in the afternoon. Workshops included: New Potential Growers, How to Batch Brew Aronia Kombucha Tea, and Dr. Andrew Ritsvey spoke on plant nutrition, irrigation efficiency, green roof systems and sustainable alternative crop production.
It was a delightful and informative event! Thank you to Dean and Donna for their service to help others succeed.