Are Superfruits Right for Your Farm?


You’ve probably noticed an increase in customer demand for superfruits—fruits that are chock-full of nutrients and are known to have a wide range of health benefits, from improving vision to protecting the body against cancer and other diseases. Luckily for berry growers, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all counted among the superfruit category. But there are a few other berries you might want to consider, as reported in Growing Produce.

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis; Sambucus nigra). A favorite folk medicine of the original US settlers and pioneers, elderberries are high in antioxidants and are thought to be valuable for supporting the immune system against colds, flus, and other infections. Studies of elderberry have also shown positive effects on heart health, antidepressant properties, and protection against UV radiation.

Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea). Also known as haskap, this berry is a great choice for the Northeast, with its strong preference for colder climates. Its tart flavor is best combined with other berries or natural sweeteners. Honeyberry is rich in flavonoids, which help reduce inflammation and improve eyesight, and may have anticancer action.

Goji berry (Lycium barbarum). Long prized in China as a medicinal food, the goji berry grows well in multiple climates, including that of the Northeast. High in fiber, protein, and a range of vitamins and minerals, goji is being studied for its antiaging and anticancer benefits, as well as its protection against diabetes and heart disease.

Many of these berries have been making appearances in farmers’ markets and gourmet stores in jams, wines, syrups, and dried forms; these could prove to be important income generators in the future, so give them some thought if you’re planning to expand your crops.