The Aronia Berry


without doubt,

an exciting little berry in the health world at the moment.

Our trip to the Caldwell’s and Sawmill Hollow over the summer was a fulfilling one.  Our first stop of the day was at Charlie and Jolene’s! They were a joy to visit with.  Charlie openly shared his passion for the Aronia Berry and how he wants to see them growing in more and more people’s backyard gardens.



I was secretly wanting to run through Charlie’s grapevines and pick bucket after bucket of concord grapes too, while I was there….(they’re my favorite and I can’t seem to get them to grow very good in my garden… a few tips from Charlie, so hopefully next year is the year!)


Jolene invited us into her kitchen to share some of her at home uses for the aronia berries.  It’s amazing how the berry by itself is ‘less than’ scrumptious, (doubt that there’s anyone out there that would just eat a bowlful of the raw berries by themselves) but when you combine it with other things, it’s DELICIOUS and when you combine THAT with the nutritional components…WOW.

Jolene gave us her secret sweetener alternative (1:1 ratio of organic raw sugar and dehydrated can sugar) She substitutes this blend in her baking recipes where it calls for refined sugar.

And Charlie is quite the winemaker…a delightful blend of his grapes and the aronia berries….they shared a taste of  what is honestly some of the best red wine we’ve ever had, actually.

Dee’s friend Twyla is responsible for sending us in the Caldwell’s direction and I thank her for that.  She too has started her own 2-acre crop of berries and now Dee can hardly wait to get her own little parcel of land growing with aronia….(and lavender)

We then carried on down the road to Sawmill Hollow Farm…Jon, Maddie and I had visited there over the summer and we were excited to share what the Pittz family (Vaughn, Cindy and Andrew) had grown over the years.  Sawmill Hollow is currently the largest organic aronia berry farm in the country and their hard work is evident, as is their passion for making this a lucrative crop for other growers.  They had prepared a variety of dishes using the products they’ve created and every one of us on the crew thought every one of the dishes and products were MAGNIFICENT.  Look for them on the shelves at your local organic grocer..and taste for yourself.

Cindy’s favorite place is out in the field, amongst the bushes. She invites artisans to their farm every year for an incredible festival that I encourage all of you to check out if you’re ever in the Western Iowa area mid-September.

It was a hot, hot day and my ankles were so swollen…regretted wearing the cropped cargo pants…wasn’t my proudest fashion statement, but my wardrobe options were few at that stage of the pregnancy game! lol.

See the brown strip in the photo above….Charlie shared his organic weed killer with us that doesn’t harm the bushes…(Vinegar — the 100% concentration — the stuff we buy in the stores is typically 4-8%)

I have the 7 plants that Vaughn from Sawmill Hollow sent home with me growing in our yard at the moment (there was a bit of a battle between us and the raccoon on a couple of them, so hopefully they survive the multiple overnight ‘digups’…otherwise I may find only 5 perking up in the spring).  Am excited at the idea of being able to go out my own backdoor and pick a basketful……in 2-3 years, of course!

A huge thank you to them all for sharing their love and knowledge of the aronia berry and all the delicious things they create with them.  It was a memorable day!

Cheers to getting a bush or two growing in your backyard!



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  4. Dan Nunley says:

    Found your article interesting
    Would like to find some aronia Bushes to try in the hot south Texas sun. Where could I buy???

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  8. Lillian Jamgochian says:

    I loved learning about the Aronia berry, but where are the recipes that they were going to share with us, cookies,topping sauce, salad dressing etc. Please let me know where I can find them. Sincerely Lillian B Jamgochian

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  12. Michele says:

    Hi Alan! Thanks for the shout out….and you’re right…one should use an exterior, water resistant adhesive for outdoor projects….can you remember which projects you”re referring to? Curious to check into it…. I typically use a wood glue by EcoGlue…It’s white in color versus the traditional tan….It’s an interior/exterior water resistant adhesive that has been shown to actually outperform the TiteBond product. Or maybe I was making a project for indoors using natural materials? Thanks again for stopping by!

  13. wordplayhouse® says:

    I decided when planting bushes around our home that I wasn’t going to use just pretty “landscaping bushes”. I wanted to use wild bushes that provided us with surprises (berries or nuts). And so I planted a hazelnut bush, blueberry bushes, Rose Hips…and Aronia Berries bushes. Yes, you are right, the berries may not be sweet as can be right off the bush, but every year we can’t help being so excited that we have to try them by the handful anyway.

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely visit with Sawmill Hollow.

  14. Alan Antoine says:

    Hi Michele,
    I love your show.
    I don’t have a comment about the berry bush.
    I do have a comment about your outdoor building projects. I noticed that you use regular carpenters glue. That type glue is not waterproof and will fail eventually. You should use a waterproof wood glue like Titebond III.

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