LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Close to the community of Stromsburg and on the property where famous Nebraskan Charles Morrill spent his summers, you’ll find a couple who enjoy cultivating the alternative chokeberry crop.
We spoke with Cindy Schofield about their home, which is “The Homestead”. It was Charles Morrill’s summer home, and it turns out to be the 150th anniversary of Charles H. Morrill’s homestead. Schofield’s company is called “Homestead Aronia”. “We were looking for an alternative crop in 2015, and our neighbor had planted around 10 acres of chokeberry,” Schofield said. “At this point, we did some research and decided that we would like to do this as an alternative crop to corn and soybeans. Aronia is chokeberry. He is originally from North America. All parts of the plants were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, to keep them healthy in winter. It’s high in vitamin C, it’s an amazing berry that we’ve lost track of, and we want to tell people about it and how good it is.
Schofield says the berries are high in tannins. “They are the most antioxidant fruits next to the acai berry,” said Schofield. “It’s not sweet. It begins. It has astringent properties in the mouth, but it’s amazing because you can add it to smoothies, pancakes and make savory dishes out of it, as well as salads and chili peppers. At Homestead Aronia, they harvest the berries and ship them frozen to the people. We also squeeze the fresh juice and sell the one from the farm. “I also make jams for people,” Schofield said. “It’s fun to do.”
There is a building on the property that Schofield uses as a seasonal gift shop. “The building was called the Creamery,” Schofield said. “Charles Morrill built this. He operated a creamery, had dairy cattle, and sold milk to the people of Stromsburg. It served a number of purposes and I wanted to save the building. There is a concrete cow outside the old creamery. “It was here on the property,” Schofield said. “Morrill had built two cement oxen, and he had a conestoga wagon, which represented the homesteaders to come. The cow is the only remaining part of this display, and we have chosen to put the cow in front of the dairy.
If you would like to learn more about Homestead Aronia, visit homesteadaronia.com. The company is also organizing an Aronia berry festival this Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. own berries during the same period.
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