Farms are all about place, right?
We are located in the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio. We’re lucky to live in a very beautiful area with a lot of natural richness. Check out the Arc of Appalachia to learn more. They do amazing work and several of their preserves are within a few miles of us.
Our focus is on the American elderberry, a native plant in this region. We have about 450 elderberry plants in the ground right now and make Elderberry syrup and Elderflower syrup from what we grow. Elderberry syrup is a traditional herbal health tonic, and many customers go to it for this purpose. Other customers put the unique earthy sweetness of elderberry to use in beverages and baked goods. Elderflower syrup is less familiar than the berry to most people, but a version of this syrup is popular in Europe as a soft drink and cocktail flavoring.
We are a relatively new farm and business, transitioning to farming 3 years ago after other careers and decades of amateur growing. Our farm was formerly used to run cattle; we have transitioned some of the pasture into perennial berry crops, put other tracts into native pollinator conservation plantings, and established a small vegetable plot. It’s important to us that the soil health and species diversity improve under our watch. Thus, we use organic mulches to deal with weed control and are committed to using only OMRI (organic standard) approved methods for any pest issues.
If all of the above makes it sound like we are wildly successful and have no challenges, let me correct that impression. Start-up costs have been steep and return is minimal while the orchard is still young and not at full production. However, some of our investments in equipment and supplies are starting to pay off. For the first time this year we are in the black, although we are still not exactly drawing a 'paycheck'. We can see a path to making a living from the farm, though! Hopefully within a few years. If you're in Adams, Brown or Scioto Counties and want to talk about growing elderberries on your land, just get in touch! We believe this crop has real potential for local farms.
In the meantime, we’re proud to be both growers and producers of our product. We’re in it from berry to bottle, so to speak, and look forward to improving and fine-tuning in the years ahead.