- 20110427 - Great Taste - Andrew Pitz & the Aronia Berry

Pollinating the aroniaI met this week's guest, Andrew Pitz, several weeks ago at Wheatsfield, the co-op in Ames.  Andrew was promoting his Sawmill Hollow Family Farm's two varieties of aronia berry wine.  Immediately, I was struck by his passion for not only the little purple berry that is packed with high concentrations of anti-oxidants, but his ideas about land stewardship, natural healing, and the importance of sharing that knowledge to enrich both people and planet. While I listened, I tasted the wines which were very pleasing and will especially appeal to folks who don't like the tannic quality inherent in many grape wines. 

It turns out the aronia is a native American plant and grew wild in Iowa.  Eastern Europeans transported the berry back to the Old Country and it has been used there for medicinal and other purposes since the early 20th century and only was rediscoved in the States less than 15 years ago.  The berry tastes very bitter straight from the vine, which is why it's also known as the chokeberry, but research has shown, in this case, bitter is better. 

In addition to wines, Andrew's family makes quite a variety of products with the aronia including salsa, salad dressing, and herbal infusions.  Join us online at kruufm.com (click on Listen Live) or in the studio where Andrew will bring the berries and we'll make certain there's plenty of food to go along with them.  For more on the aronia check out this article from The Atlantic.

Aronia Berry