Chris Patton

Nov 17, 2017
Minnesotan honored for developing native Midwest elderberries

Christopher J. Patton of River Hills Harvest Marketers recently was honored by the Specialty Food Association for his work developing elderberries native to the American Midwest as a viable specialty crop.

The Minneapolis man recruited 18 farmers in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconson to form the Midwest Elderberry Collective, he told Specialty Food Magazine:

“We’re running off a shoestring,” Patton says, though he’s confident that will change. “If we can get more commercial ingredients in place and I can guarantee a certain price, then we can expand the co-op.”

For more about Patton, read the full article at Specialty Food.

Elderberries flower in the summer, and grow wild in high-moisture areas, according to Michigan State University Extension. The berries are often used for jam, jellies or pies. The dried flowers are sometimes used in tea blends. Some varieties have been developed for improved fruit flavor or ornamental value.

The Specialty Food Association named Patton a recipient of its 2018 Leadership awards, in the Business Leadership category. A total of six people were honored for creating positive social, economic, and/or environmental impact through their innovation and vision.

“These six specialty food entrepreneurs reflect the great power and impact of our growing industry on society at large,” said Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association.

The awards will be presented during the SFA’s Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco at a special ceremony on Sunday, January 21 from 5-6:30 p.m. A reception sponsored by the Association’s Natural & Organic Council will follow the awards ceremony.

The Specialty Food Association includes food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association has 3,500 members in the U.S. and abroad.

Above: Christopher J. Patton Photo: Specialty Food Association.

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