Aronia Comes to Eastern Iowa
June 27, 2013
A modern-day Johnny Appleseed is traveling across Iowa, trying to interest farmers in a "new" crop. Thursday Andrew Pittz from Missouri Valley Iowa will plant aronia bushes in three eastern Iowa counties, as part of his effort to plant them in all 99 counties of the state.
Pittz says in the 1990's his father began looking for alternative crops to grow on the family farm, and in 1997 started with 200 aronia plants.
"Aronia berries have a higher antioxidant content than blueberries and pomegranates. Folks put them in smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, and yoghurt. Anything you can do with a blueberry you can do with an aronia berry."
He and his family have also been developing other uses for aronia, including coffee, vitamin supplements, and wine.
As of this week, Pittz had planted aronia bushes in 86 Iowa counties. Thursday's planting stops include Muscatine, Clinton, and Scott Counties (near city hall in Davenport).