Superfruit Grows in North Dakota
Posted: Jul 02, 2014 3:10 PM CDT
Updated: Jul 13, 2014 3:10 PM CDT
By Krista Harju – email
There’s a new superfruit in town, and experts say it has huge potential. Interest in healthy eating has led to a worldwide growth in the popularity of aronia berries and aronia products. Also known as the black chokecherry, the berry is said to have more antioxidants than any other fruit. And it’s growing right here in North Dakota.
The aronia berry isn’t easily found in the grocery store, but the superfruit grows easily on the plains of North Dakota.
“They’re really gaining a lot of interest across the U.S., because they have some of the highest neutraceutical values of any plants out there. They’re way higher than blueberries and they’re higher than elderberries even,” says Kathy Wiederholt of the Carrington Research Center.
Wiederholt says aronia berries have more antioxidants than any other fruit, including the acai berry. It’s not a fruit you’d want to eat on its own.
People describe it as having an earthy or astringent flavor, but some people are using it to make wine. Vintner’s Winery in Bismarck has two aronia varieties. Owner Allan Fuller says both wines pair well with steak.
“They’re both dark red wines. So, it’s going to be a personal choice. If you like a little bit sweeter wine and a steak, if you like those two, that’s probably going to be a home run for you. Maybe not for your neighbor. Your neighbor might like a drier wine. That’s the reason why we have two,” says Fuller.
The Carrington Research Center has six varieties of aronia berries, and Wiederholt says they’re easy to take care of.
“Plant them nicely, not too deep, not too shallow, kind of like how they are in the pot. And really, just water them the first few weeks, maybe the first year and make sure they don’t get too dry. After that, they should take off on their own.
The plant will begin yielding fruit in the second or third year. And each bush will produce about 15-20 pounds of fruit once it reaches maturity.
Wine isn’t the only aronia product sold in the state. Some Pride of Dakota businesses sell aronia jams and jellies. Wiederholt says the fruit pairs well with dairy products and can be great in a smoothie or with ice cream.
Vintner’s Winery offers free wine tasting to customers. If your interested in trying an aronia wine, you can visit their store in the Gateway Mall.