MU Agroforestry Department Gets Grant for Elderberry Research

7 years 11 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, October 28 2010 Oct 28, 2010 Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:30:44 AM CDT October 28, 2010 in News
HARTSBURG- Agroforestry Associate Director Michael Gold is part of a research group getting $105,000 to help expand the elderberry industry in Missouri. An elderberry is a dark purple, superfruit, native to Missouri and has been proven to have several health benefits. Experts say Missouri has ideal conditions for growing elderberries.

The money from the grant will further research on the uses of elderberries, including its health benefits. One of the nation's top elderberry farmers Terry Durham says, "We like to call it nature's medicine chest." Elderberries are already being used to treat the symptoms of flu and prevent infection as well as to strengthen the immune system. And Durham says researchers are now testing elderberries' ability to "block and retard prostate cancer."

Gold says the elderberry industry is small and there aren't a lot of farmers producing them. But Durham says there's a major demand and farmers have the opportunity to take advantage of it. Gold agrees, "We have a teeny tiny industry, and we think we can develop it into quite a substantial industry. And really Missouri will be elderberry central for the USA."

Durham and Gold both say the goal is to educate more and more farmers so they can start growing elderberries commercially. Right now you can get elderberry juices, jam, jelly, wine, and beverages at stores in Columbia.

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