West Branch Elderberries

Elderberries for your health
Our Story In Pictures

Elderberry plants are best grown from cuttings, which are a 12” piece of stem cut from dormant Elderberry plants. We prepared the greenhouse for starting the cuttings in March.


We potted the cuttings into flats in late March.


As the flats are filled with cuttings, they are placed on wood sheeting so the roots don’t go down into the ground. The flats are placed in rows and separated by variety to maintain identity later on. We selected 5 varieties of Elderberry for our orchard. We will evaluate them individually for flavor, anti-oxidant content, yield, quality, and other characteristics.


The greenhouse is full!


After about 3 weeks of daily watering and care, we begin to see some life!


Six weeks in the greenhouse and the plants are getting green.


As the cuttings are developing in the greenhouse, the orchard was prepared by installing an underground drip irrigation system to conserve water and provide moisture when it gets dry.


The young plants are removed from the pots and hand planted with the help of our RainFlo waterwheel planter. The planter digs a little hole and some water is placed in the hole to get the plants off to a good start.


One week after planting. (shoe is for perspective.)


Two weeks after planting and they are taking off! Elderberry plants grow very quickly.


The newly planted Elderberrys must be hand weeded to maintain organic requirements, and to keep weed competition down. No herbicides or synthetic fertilizers may be used.


After a 1 year of growth and development in the orchard, flowers begin to appear.


In mid-July the flowers begin to turn into berries.

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The large clusters of berries are ready for harvest in August. Each cluster is hand selected for proper ripeness.

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Harvest days start early with washing and sanitizing equipment and containers before heading out to start hand picking the ripe berries.

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There is not much room between the rows so we use the smallest equipment we can.

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Robins love Elderberries too!

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Verlyn and cousin Mike.

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Family and friends come together to bring in the harvest.

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