About Us

Our company

We provide high-quality organic products

As farm growers in Iowa centered on nutrition and sustainability, you’ll find our new and growing line of products are also centered there. That means in our Tonics, Cook Kits, and Jam, you’ll find sustainably grown and sourced elderberries (some of which are grown right here on our Iowa farm) as the first ingredient. This also means that we intentionally and carefully source our other ingredients to ensure other growers are taking care too.

Our honey is from Iowa’s hardworking bees and their keepers, our neighbors just to the South. Local honey and local elderberries—never a better collaboration.

Our organic herbs—rose hips, ginger root, ceylon cinnamon, and cloves—are always organic and selected from high-quality, transparent, sustainable sources.

And we think this makes for the tastiest, most healthful elderberry goods from sea to shining sea.

How It was

Company’s history

West Branch’s story begins in 2015 somewhere around Orange City, Iowa, which is quintessential small-town Iowa… quiet, friendly, family-filled. Not far from the Minnesota and South Dakota borders, Northwest Iowa is renowned for its fertile topsoil, the “black gold of Iowa,” the creme de la creme of dirt.

Kevin, Mark, and Verlyn joined in a vision for a 16-acre piece of land, nestled in Northwest Iowa’s infamous row crop farming landscape. This piece of land could be something different. It could be home to the healthful elderberry… a crop native to Iowa, but nearly nonexistent today.

So in January of 2015, it was settled and 36,000 elderberry cuttings were purchased from an elderberry orchard in Missouri. These cuttings, planted first in the greenhouse were transplanted to that infamous black gold 2 months later. With 16 acres planted in Orange City, another 8 acres were planted in neighboring Sioux Center, Iowa. With careful planning and irrigation development, West Branch Elderberries was anticipating its first elderberry harvest.

And in 2016 our first harvest knocked us off our feet. We weren’t anticipating so many berries. We scrambled to find community members, family members, anyone near to help us harvest. It was clear to us, seeing all those friends and family walking the rows, that this was a unique way to bring together and foster our community. Often families and church groups join for harvest to connect and earn revenue for projects.

After that first harvest, it was clear to us that we needed to find a way to automate the processing piece of harvest. So in their genius, Verlyn and Mark converted a blueberry processing line for elderberry processing.

the experts

Meet Our Team

Mark Sneller
Elderberry Expert

Mark, also, our elderberry expert, has been a crop producer for over 35 years. You could say he knows a thing or two about caring for and improving a harvest—and…

Verlyn Sneller
Elderberry Expert

Verlyn is our elderberry expert, the tennies-in-the-soil guy, our nutritional-guru. He’s onsite nearly as much as the berries are and he’s committed to not just a tasty berry, but a…

Kevin
Kevin
Sales/Marketing

Kevin is our sales and marketing guy. He’s been doing so for around 45 years. He’s an expert connector and can always “help us find the gal or guy who…

Kathy
Manager

Kathy comes to use with a varied background of experiences. She’s been trained extensively in helping us manage quality control and safety measures. She takes the most excellent care of…

Steve
Steve
Plant Health Expert

Steve owned and operated a landscaping nursery for 25 years. So he brings to us a unique and valuable perspective on plant health and care. Often, you’ll find Steve riding…

Courtney
Product Developer

Courtney is fresh on the scene at West Branch and mostly focused on product development and whipping up recipes. She’s merged a local, small elderberry tonic company, Wildroost Elderberry, with…