GROWING A UNIQUE CROP–Torey and Tenika Frees are pictured in their dormant elderberry field earlier this week. The pair hosted an event to help farmers learn more about this specialty crop.
Elderberries are almost considered to be a weed by many local farmers, as it can seemingly pretty much grow anywhere. Torey Frees of Red Bud used to think that way, but he has definitely changed his mind about the plant.
“I never planned on getting into elderberries, but it sprouted up,” he told the small crowd that gathered at the Frees Family Farms, west of Red Bud on MM Road, on Feb. 26. The event was organized by Food Works as a way to help farmers learn about this unique specialty crop.
He explained that around 10 years ago, he saw an ad in the paper that Matt Mollet with Lau-Nae Winery had placed, seeking elderberries for wine. “We had some growing in the farm waterways,” Frees explained. “We picked around 700 pounds and we thought there might be something in this.”
Aside from being used in wine and jellies, elderberries, which are small, purple colored berries are thought to have great health benefits.
For more on elderberries, please see this week’s print edition.