Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where is aronia grown?

     Early in the 20th century, aronia was introduced from the United States into Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia where high quality, larger fruited cultivars were selected.  Thousands of acres of aronia are now grown as a commercial berry crop in Eastern Europe.  Countries with notable commercial aronia production include Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Siberia, and Sweden.

     In March 2008, an article written by Vadim Makarenko and published in Poland’s largest daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, .reported that Polish aronia berry production was 35-40,000 tons.  This amounted to 90% of the world production of aronia.  Of that, 90 percent was being processed into juice concentrate for export to the US and other countries.  Poland itself was using the remaining 10 percent of the fruit.  It is estimated that in 2012, about 50 percent of the world’s commercial aronia berry production is in Poland.  

Aronia plantation in Poland

     Aronia is increasing in popularity in the United States and several other countries.  In 2013, Dr. Everhart estimates that several thousand acres of commercial aronia berry plants have been planted in the United States.  About 50 to 60 of those plantings were in production in 2013.  The remaining plants were in the ground for less than three years.  Most of the commercial aronia plantings are in the Midwest.  This includes commercial plantings in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

      The aronia berry industry in the United States is currently in the early stages of development.  Production is centered on southwest Iowa.  Many growers in the Midwest are planning to at least double their acres within the next few years.  At this time, demand exceeds production.  Several markets already exist and others are developing.

      In 2006, Dr. Eldon Everhart estimated that in 3 to 4 years at least 200 aronia plantations will be in production in Iowa alone.  In 2010, Dr. Eldon Everhart estimated that 200 to 300 acres of commercial aronia berries had been planted in the United States.  In 2013, Dr. Eldon Everhart estimated that at least 400 to 500 acres been planted in the United States with most of those plantings in Iowa and adjacent states.

      If you are interested in starting a commercial aronia plantation, you have found the right person to get reliable answers to your questions.  Dr. Eldon Everhart is one of the only commercial aronia experts in the United States.

      Dr. Everhart consults with established aronia growers and “want-to-be” aronia growers and other specialty crop growers all over the Midwest and beyond.  As you may know, you can find a lot of information about aronia on the Internet and from some of the people who have already planted aronia.  Unfortunately, much of it is outdated, misleading, or just not true.  Everhart Horticulture Consulting website has links to more reliable information.

      Dr. Everhart will be glad to answer all of your questions about commercial production and marketing of aronia.  He will also be glad to provide a copy of an interactive aronia budget as an Excel spreadsheet.  Specialists with Everhart Horticulture Consulting can also work with you on your aronia business plan and on writing grant proposals.

      However, there is a charge for our professional services but you will get a good value for your investment.  The information that we provide to our clients is based on scientific knowledge and years of experience --- not on testimonials, unproven beliefs, or wild guesses.  Some individuals will only share detailed information with you if you sign a contract to sell your aronia berries to them.

      It will take a lot longer to get started if you try to find reliable information about aronia on your own.  You can also learn by the “trial and error method” but that can be time consuming and very expensive!

      Before you decide to hire me, you may want to know more about my qualifications.  Dr. Everhart worked as a commercial horticulture specialist for Iowa State University and as a college teacher for over 35 years.  He grew up in a horticulture business and he has worked with horticulture crops for over 50 years.

      Dr. Everhart's commercial experience and knowledge of aronia started nearly 15 years ago.  He is currently involved with aronia research, speaking engagements and short courses, consulting with individual aronia businesses and commercial aronia growers and organizations all over the Midwest and in several foreign countries.

      Dr. Everhart is the president of a private family-owned consulting business -- Everhart Horticulture Consulting.  This consulting business provides advice on many horticulture crops including aronia.  This includes recommendations and advice on site selection, soil testing, plant propagation, pest management, where and how to plant, mechanized planting, plant spacing, mechanized harvesting, along with where to buy small liners and larger aronia plants, what cultivars to plant, upkeep, maintenance, weed and pest control, irrigation, when to plant, where to market, budgets, custom business plan writing, what aronia grower group you might want to join, and everything else you need to know.  As a client of our consulting business, you will get help finding answers to any and all of the aronia questions you might have.

      We will also provide follow-up support and assistance for as long as you need us at no additional cost to you.  Even after Dr. Everhart or one of his partners has consulted with you, they will continue to help you and share information with you as long as you freely share information and your experiences with them.  We believe in openness, sharing, transparency, and cooperation.

      Commercial aronia consultations take at least 4 to 5 hours plus follow-up time.  It may take longer, depending on how much assistance you want and need.  Consultation by telephone is $600.  An on-site consultation visit is $600 plus travel expenses.  Contact us if you are serious about starting a commercial aronia plantation. 

      Please recommend this blog to your friends, family members, or anyone who might be interested in aronia.


      Please post a comment in the box below.  To learn more about aronia, visit our website Everhart Horticulture Consulting.

      Thank you,
      Dr. Eldon Everhart

P.S. -- To view videos about aronia, visit the Aronia Plant Videos or Aronia Berry Harvesters.


  1. I have 5 acres in zone 7b in the Pacific Northwest. Im interested in growing aronia on a small scale commercial basis. Is this zone acceptable for the plant's to produce well and the land enough to make it worthwhile?

  2. hello, I'm Nicu, from Romania, I wish to know how many years are necessary to harvest the fruits from the new plants, and if now ( we have 8-9°C ) is possible to separate the young plants from the mother plant to transplant it...thank you so much

  3. Hi Nicu,

    Thank you for visiting my website.

    The number of years that aronia plants must grow in the field before they produce their first crop depends on several factors. These factors include how they were propagated, the size of the plants when they were planted in the field, and the care they are given after they are planted.

    Aronia liners (small plants) that were propagated from semi-hardwood terminal cuttings in late spring should produce their first good crop after the third growing seasons in the field if they receive good care after planting. A few plants may even produce a few berries the first year after planting. That’s because the flowers are formed on the stems the year before they were propagated from terminal cuttings.

    If the aronia plants are propagated from seeds, then it will take longer for them to reach reproductive age. Many woody perennial plants that are propagated from seeds go through a juvenile stage before they change to the mature reproductive stage. Only the shoot apical meristem undergoes the juvenile-to-adult phase change.

    As you may know, aronia plants form suckers from their root system at the crown of the plant. In other words, they send up new shoots or suckers from their roots. These shoots can be dug up with roots attached. It is best to do this in early spring while the plants are still dormant. This is an easy and low-cost way to produce new plants.

    Dr. Eldon Everhart

  4. When I read your posts about aronia, your enthusiasm is contagious. You make me want to hire you as a consultant to help me start a commercial aronia berry business, It would be great to have even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say what they believe and then back their words with research based information..

  5. I have a small aronia farm about 1400 plants on their 4th year, Viking strain. im estimating 10,000 pounds this year and looking for a buyer. Thanks

  6. In the past, I have helped my clients in Illinois and other places find buyers for their aronia berries. Some of them may be interested in purchasing your crop. I charge a consulting fee.

  7. I am in SE Iowa. We have 1,000 Viking Aronia plants. Estimating 4,000 pounds. Need to find a buyer ASAP. What is the consulting fee? Are you confident you can find a buyer?

  8. Hi Doctor,
    Me and my wiffe are really interested on starting the growth of Aronia in my country called Kosovo.
    Can you just tell me in few words how to be sure that the land in my country will grow aronia and where shall we get the plants to plant?

    Waiting for your reply.

    1. Aronia will grow in northern areas of Kosovo. The plants need to get the required number of chilling hours.

      The plants will do best on soils that have good internal drainage. Aronia plants will grow on less well-drained sites but the growth rate will be slower and yields will be lower.

      Small liner plants (rooted cuttings) of named varieties are available from nurseries in Poland and other eastern European countries. I do not have a list of those nurseries but here is the URL of a nursery that you might want to contact:

      AgroPlant (founded in 2012) is first producer and exporter of Aronia Berry in Kosova. You may want to visit their website.

      Let me know if this helps and please keep me posted on your progress.

      Dr. Eldon Everhart

  9. Hello

    Can you tell us what strain is best and the reasons why you prefer. I'm conflicted between Viking, Nero or Galicjanko . I realize they contain the same DNA strain but there are many different opinions on what type is the best for hand and mechanical harvesting.


  10. Hi Paul,

    Nero, Viking, and Galicjanka are nearly identical when compared through genetic markers. Galicjanka may have a more condensed ripening period and more flexible stems, which may make it better for mechanical harvest. Viking has been more widely planted in North America and has a proven “track record” of consistent performance.

    Dr. Everhart

  11. Hello,
    I live in North California 35 mills north from San Francisco, can I grow Aronia berries, if so what kind.

  12. Hello,
    I live in North California 40 miles north of San Francisco, can I grow Aronia berries and if so what kind.
    Thank You Krystyna

  13. Aronia plants need about 800 to 1,000 chilling hours. In the San Francisco area the temperature seldom drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is unlikely that te chilling hour requirement, where you live 40 miles north of San Francisco, will be met unless you live in the mountains.