Due to their health properties and easy growth, the cultivation of elderberries has made its way to the Midwest in recent years, particularly to Missouri. So it stands to reason that shipping Missouri elderberries around the U.S. would be an important aspect of the process. Getting the fragile fruit around the country follows an exact process.
Knowing the processing, packaging and correct way to handle the fruit is of utmost importance before shipping Missouri elderberries. But with the right information at your disposal, it’s not difficult and — in fact — can be quite “fruitful” for your business’ bottom line. Read more to learn about how to get your crops in the hands of consumers.
Elderberry plants are grown throughout the United States and have been used for various purposes here since the time of the Native Americans. They can be used in many different capacities such as medicinally, as a standalone food or ingredient for wine, pies, sauces, jellies and candies and even as a dye for basketry. Suffice to say, there are many different elderberry products that stem from one kind of plant.
The plant is also rich in Vitamins A and C and has exhibited antioxidant and antiviral properties. It should be noted that elderberries must be cooked before being consumed since it has alkaloids that will cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea if eaten raw.
In the state of Missouri in 2016, elderberries had the 7th most farms among fruit and berries for commercial production, and accounted for the 5th most acreage for being planted in the same category. This falls in line with the University of Missouri calling elderberries “a rapidly emerging new perennial crop” in 2012. Officially, it is still known as a specialty crop, even as it gains in popularity in the state.
The American elderberry comes in different iterations since it can be a shrub, bush or tree. They are liked by American farmers because they can grow elderberry plants anywhere with sufficient sunlight and start yielding fruit by the second year, which is much faster than other fruit trees. Usually a full flowering will occur by the third year after planting.
In Missouri, they are grown on shrubs or bushes.
In Missouri, the full flowering of elderberries generally occurs in mid-June and will be a dark, purple-blue color. On a commercial level, the berries are mechanically harvested off the tree, shrub or bush and some enterprising farmers have also been able to fashion a mechanical destemmer to get the berries off the branches more easily and without damaging the berries.
Before the elderberries are packed, they must undergo a straight line of precautions to make sure they’re ready to be shipped.
Elderberries aren't the only berry with special shipping considerations. Learn how to ship berries and make moving the sweet stuff easy.
Elderberries are fragile, so extra care must be taken to make sure they aren’t crushed during shipping. A strong container should be used to ensure that when they are stacked, the ones on top don’t crush what’s underneath.
The best thing to use is a fiberboard box with a wax or plastic liner to make the inside of the box waterproof, which will prevent it from collapsing if the exterior of the box gets soaked somehow. Also, fiberboard boxes are a relatively inexpensive form of packaging material, which will be good for the farmer’s bottom line.
While elderberries can be squashed like any other berries, they are quite hardy against disease and pests. Only mites (the tiny insect) and leaf spot (which only happens in very wet weather) bother the tree’s fruit while they’re still growing, although the leaves, roots and actual plant itself has to worry about other things.
If elderberries are to be sent frozen, it’s extremely important the cold chain is maintained throughout the process. Once the berries are frozen, they will have to be loaded onto a refrigerated truck that keeps the temperature nice and low for the elderberries to remain frozen.
If they are being shipped fresh, a refrigerated truck is still a good idea because elderberries can be cooled down to 41 degrees fahrenheit to help extend their freshness during the shipping process. This will keep them as fresh as possible before they are cooked or bought fresh to be made into jams or baked goods.
Once you’re ready to start shipping Missouri elderberries around the U.S., get in touch with the shipping experts at R+L Global Logistics. We can help you with getting your fresh berries or even how to transport lima beans and other freight shipping food to any destination you require.
With a trustworthy fleet of partners, R+L Global Logistics can find a truck for your load at any time. We have refrigerated trucks as well, and can also offer expedited shipping for those times your produce needs to be there as quickly as it can be.
These strong suits of ours are paired with a 99.5 percent on-time delivery rate, so you can have confidence that your freight will arrive by the agreed-upon time. Also our customer service team is available around the clock in order to address your needs as they arise.
So once you’ve harvested your crops and are set to begin shipping elderberries across the U.S., get a free freight quote via R+L Global Logistics’ website or call us at (866) 353-7178.
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