A new superfood is making a name for itself, a new name. Formerly known as the common chokeberry, the Aronia berry is taking its place along side other superfoods like blueberries, acai berries and goji berries is working its way in the aisles of mainstream grocery stores all across the United States.
Andrew Pittz, 28, is the driving force behind the aronia berry’s emergence.In 1997 his family planted 200 bushes. The bush grows well in the Midwest, has few pests and doesn’t have to be replanted every year. His family also has taught others how to plant, grow and market the almost black-purple, pea-sized berries.
The native North American berry was introduced in Russia and eastern Europe in the early 20th century and has been cultivated there for juices and wines.
Research published last year in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry says aronia’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a standard measurement of antioxidant strength, shows the berry has one of the highest values ever recorded for a fruit.
Antioxidants help protect cells from damage, although there are questions in the medical field as to what role antioxidants play in helping prevent human disease.
Sawmill Hollow products now are sold in about half of Hy-Vee’s 237 stores, and in all of Whole Foods’ 45 Midwest-region stores, according to spokeswomen for the chains.
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