US market demand is growing. As the elderberry’s super food status grows, this young and rapidly growing industry will need increased production to supply the market. Wineries are seeking more local supply. Chefs are increasingly interested in elderberries. The health properties of elderberries attract customers. Organic and locally grown foods are perceived by consumers as healthier and safer for both people and the environment.
Opportunity is also found in increased research for the health benefits of elderberries. The National Institute for Health awarded the University of Missouri’s Center for Botanical Interaction Studies, monies to explore the possible health benefits of elderberries.
Elderberry cultivation research is increasing. The Elderberry Improvement Project was initiated in 1997, by SMSU State Fruit Experiment Station, University of Missouri Southwest Research Center, Kansas State University, USDA and Wyldewood Cellars, to improve elderberry cultivars. The high return on small acreage is a positive factor for farmers. Michael Gold, research professor and associate director for the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, says three to four tons of elderberries can be produced per acre. Replicated evaluation of superior native germplasm is the future of cultivation.