I have been holding off going to Lost Creek Farm until Sarah could go with me; Sarah Chorney is the Assistant Farmers Market Manager for the City Market. Darrel has given his farm a total makeover; he is looking towards the future for sure. In the past Darrel grew mainly vegetables, in his search to simplify and grow something that takes a little less work Darrel decided to grow elderberries.
Elderberries are small, dark berries that grow in clusters on elder trees, also called elderberry bushes, and are very common throughout Europe and North America. Elderberries are used to make wine, pies, cobblers, extracts, juice, jams, jellies and syrups. In the spring, you can use the white elderflowers to make jellies, teas or stir them into muffins to add a nice sweet flavor. Elderberries are high in vitamin C, potassium, betta-carotene and calcium. I never knew anything about elderberries but will certainly give them a try.
Darrel has put in 11,000 plants (that is right 11,000) and we found him busy snipping off flowers and berries from the newer plants to ensure they develop a good root system. In the spring, each bush produces the Elderflower, which then produces the berries. Each cluster of berries s removed and put into bins. Darrel has a great system set up for washing the berries and purchased a destemming machine which saves them a great deal of time. Once the berries are washed and destemmed, they are put into large bags and frozen. Some of the frozen berries are then sold to a processor who makes elderberry juice.
Darrel has not given up totally on growing vegetables; he still has a few smaller plots where he grows squash, okra, peas, tomatoes, beans and cabbage.
In addition to the farm, they have a metal pole barn that contains their licensed kitchen. Donna was busy baking sweet breads to bring to the market on Saturday, and had just finished baking cookies and brownies. I am sure we will see the addition of elderberry products in their stall next year, I cannot wait.