Elaine Blair put in an acre of aronia berries in 2010, and she's had a great year growing this fruit. Aronia berries are known for having the highest levels of anti-oxidents out of any fruit in the world.
â??They are good for cancer fighting cells and are supposed to be one of the super berries of the century,â?? Blair said.
Samples of a homemade sauce, vinaigrette, jelly and juice made from aronia berries were available at Blair's stop on the Hometown Harvest of Southeast Iowaâ??s â??Savor the Flavor!â?? Farm Crawl.
â??I'm just experimenting all the time, maybe making a little cranberry sauce for thanksgiving only it will be aronia sauce,â?? she said.
Penny Morgan and her brother Seth Miller invite the public to check out their family farm near Bativia, which houses a wine tasting and open house.
â??I'm guessing, I haven't really been able to keep track, but I'm guessing we've had close to 20 people through already today, so we've had a very good turnout, very interested in the grapes and in the process," Morgan said.
"We started this vineyard in 2002, and it was a family operation from the beginning,â?? Miller said.
In 2009 they opened Cedar Creek Winery, and their farm now hosts seven varieties of grapes and 10 different kinds of wines.
"Our top sellers actually all kind of trend around the same grape variety, our Marechal Foch grape, we make three different wines out of it, and our top seller by far is our Red Tie Affair,â?? Miller said.
The crawl included eight destinations spread across three counties in Southeast Iowa, including the Atwoodâ??s pumpkin patch and a mobile greenhouse where students at Pekin School are growing food for the school lunch menus. Organizers say the weekend outing allowed consumers to connect with their food producers.
"It doesn't look like much from the highway until you actually get up in here,â?? Miller said, â??and I think once you actually get up in here, you can just kind of close your eyes, sit back on the deck and have a glass of wine, and just really relax, and that's kind of what we want people to experience out here is somewhat of a getaway, some tranquility.â??