Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3rd North American Aronia Berry Festival Held Annually at Sawmill Hollow Family Farm

What: The 3rd Annual North American Aronia Berry Festival - a celebration of health, community, culture, sustainable rural development, local business, and family farms.

Where: Missouri Valley, Iowa - Aronia Berry Capital of the United States.

When: September 18th and 19th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nestled in the heart of the scenic Loess Hills, Sawmill Hollow Family Farm has found its purpose in reintroducing the incredibly nutritious aronia berry to the United States.

To celebrate the hearty berry, and health in general, our organic farm hosts the Annual North American Aronia Berry Festival.

Andrew Pittz, co-owner of the farm, aptly sums up the purpose of organizing such an event: "Our festival brings community, economic development, and environmental sustainability to the forefront of agriculture. The aronia berry is a new crop emerging amongst corn and soybeans, this berry has a lot of potential to help diversify family farms.” He added, “It's about expanding the taste for food, farming, and health; not monopolizing it, I call it open-source farming.” He went on to say, "We're thrilled so many people in Missouri Valley have welcome festival visitors from all over the country with our characteristic Loess Hills kindness, for instance, many of the restaurants serve special aronia berry dishes during the weekend of the festival."

Selected Highlights:


Dr. John Ikerd: An internationally renowned speaker, Dr. Ikerd is featured in the documentary FRESH and is on it’s Board of Advisors, the author of many books including Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture and Small Farms are Real Farms. He is recognized as one of the country’s foremost advocates on sustainability and family farming.

Chuck Hassebrook: Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs (CFR), Chuck Hassebrook specializes in commodity program reform, rural development, extension, and rural revitalization. CFR has helped around 5,000 small businesses. Mr. Hassebrook has also served on the National Commission on Small farms.

Dave Murphy: Founder and Director of Food Democracy Now! National organization dedicated to grassroots community dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects our natural environment, sustains farmers, and nourishes families.

On September 18th and 19th thousands will attend the North American Aronia Berry Festival for all things Aronia (herbals, food, craft beer, recipes), dozens of artisans, artists, children's activities, international, national, and local speakers, 18th century farm equipment demonstrations, wine tastings and winemaking, and group demonstrations. These demonstrations include such attractions as bio-diesel and wind production, Also featured in the festival are "Slow Food" cooking workshops and “Perennial Ag,” which helps family farms diversify, into Aronia Berry production and includes information on organic fertilizing for garden and farm.

Directions from Omaha: Approx. a 30-45 minute drive. Take I-29 to Missouri Valley Exit 75, Merge Right US-30 East, Turn left onto North 1st Street CR-L 20 continue to follow CR-L-20, take a right on to L-23, turn left onto Kennedy Ave to all things Aronia! Signs will be posted beginning after merging right on US-30.

For more information: dial 214-924-4810 or email
Visit Sawmill Hollow online at

This festival is in association with an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant. To read more about this project, visit the SARE online reporting site at

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