President’s Note: Elderberry Workshop Recap

elderberry workshop

On September 14, 2023, we held an elderberry workshop at the Kerr Center. It highlighted the elderberry grant we have been working on in conjunction with the University of Missouri.

While we have been working with elderberries for several years, sometimes it takes bringing in the public to give us a different perspective on the project. Several attendees commented on how surprised they were that all of the varieties in our genetic x environment trial were the same species.

I guess we have taken for granted how the varieties look. We know there are differences between the varieties; we work with them weekly. But it was not clear how different they are until someone new comes on site and sees the varieties together for the first time. When we were out on the research plots, I heard comments like, “These are all the same species?” and, “The plots look so different.”

Attendees also saw what mite damage looked like on some of the plants. We have completed harvest, so there were no berries present. Andy Thomas from the University of Missouri spoke about the grant project and other research that has happened and will be happening in the future. Hopefully more work will be done on the potential health benefits of the elderberry.

We are on the front end of expanding work on the elderberry, a native Oklahoma plant with a long history of use by humans worldwide. While there is much work to be done, we hope the Kerr Center’s contributions will help growers now and in the future.

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