Calow Berry Farms, LLC
Grower of the Aronia Berry

History of the Aronia

Aronia, which carries the common name of chokeberry, is a deciduous shrub native to North America where it can be found growing wild in regions ranging from Nova Scotia to Florida and throughout the Midwest. It has dark green foliage that turns red in the fall. White flowers appear in the spring, giving way to deep purple, almost black, berries. Its beauty has led to its use as an ornamental shrub in North America, and it is particularly useful in absorbing swampy areas. The berries are very tart from the high content of tannins, but just before harvest they sweeten.

The plant was introduced to Russia in the late 1800s and subsequently cultivated throughout Central and Eastern European countries. The plant has been widely studied in these countries in state-directed research programs seeking to improve health through the use of natural products for food and medicinal use. It has gained popularity as a healthy food source with its fruits and juice used commercially and for home cooking in beverages, jams, fillings, wines etc. The aronia juice has a unique taste, with a pleasant tartness somewhat similar to cranberry but with sweeter low notes as in blackberry. Its juice and extracts from the berries have also been used medicinally.

Antioxidant qualities

Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) has attracted scientific interest due to its deep purple, almost black pigmentation that arises from dense contents of phenolic phytochemicals, especially anthocyanins. Total anthocyanin content in chokeberries is 1480 mg per 100 g of fresh berries, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100 g (Wu et al. 2004, 2006). Both values are among the highest measured in plants to date.

The plant produces these pigments mainly in the skin of the berries to protect the pulp and seeds from constant exposure to ultraviolet radiation. By absorbing UV rays in the blue-purple spectrum, pigments filter intense sunlight and thereby have a role assuring regeneration of the species.