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We farm native elderberries and only sell what we and our network of American farmers grow!

Ingredient Product Update

  • Dried native elderflower pre-orders open up June 1.
  • No bulk frozen elderberries available. New pre-orders will open in late August / early September 2020.
  • Sold out of thermally dried elderberries. Check back in October 2020.
  • Freeze dried berries sold out. Check back in October 2020.
  • No bulk frozen juice for sale as of January 2020.
  • Limited quantities of freeze dried elderflowers. Email us.

Naturally more reddish, North American black elderberries taste and smell better than the imports. Most (thermally) dried elderberries imported from Europe are wild collected. European research found that “...wild elderberry have the lowest quantities of these bioactive compounds…” [Point #14, Functional Ingredient page]

[Click here to read a journal article comparing European Sambucus nigra and native North American Sambucus nigra canadensis.]

Please read the relevant page before emailing or calling us!
Info about all bulk frozen destemmed & cleaned berry orders are found on that page, for example. [Click on the Buying tab for the drop down menu - Each Ingredient product has its own web page.]

Are you a natural foods store, health practitioner or make elderberry products for sale?
You can add native elderberry retail products to your sales portfolio. River Hills Harvest Marketers, LLC has a retail products Direct Ship program by the 12 unit case. For more information see the Retail - River Hills Harvest page. 
Email me at if interested. 

Visit the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative Facebook page for updates and relevant information from events to health & growing.

Small Order Online Direct page 
for those seeking modest quantities of the following sustainably grown in the Midwest native elderberry (Sambucus nigra canadensis) ingredients: both freeze dried and thermally dried elderberries, dried elderflowers and bulk raw frozen elderberry juice.

Here's WHY you can't Find ANY Elderberry Anywhere...

In the simplest terms, we do not grow enough native elderberry in the country, and we need more farmers willing to add commercial scale acres as part of their overall farm plan.

But the real reason lies with consumer understanding about this little berry and its flowers. The public should be buying native elderberry products and native elderberry flavors of other foods and beverages for its very dense nutrition and enjoying it all year long! If we did that, the market demand would have already encouraged farmers to add hundreds of more acres than we now have producing in America. But the public only looks to buy when sick or afraid of getting sick. 

Do some research and you will find many other potential health benefits from regularly consuming elderberry foods and beverages than just its help against illness. Of course, we need more research, but there is a enough to show that these tiny berries pack big bunches of nutrients by weight.

Most people look for elderberries when they are sick or want to keep from getting sick during the prime "flu season". The antioxidants of native dark berries slow down the reproduction of many viruses. At the First International Symposium on Elderberry (2013 Columbia, MO) the clinical researchers stated that the many viruses tested were inhibited to one degree or another, although it is impossible to test all viruses.

Making elderberry syrup or gummies? 
While most recipes use thermally dried berries, you can also use our bulk frozen shoe  destemmed and sanitized berries (minimum order 25 lb.) or bulk frozen raw juice (minimum order is 2 gal). 

MEC supplies ingredients to the River Hills Harvest brand of elderberry products sold in a grow number of retail locations. Click here for more information.  Minimally processed River Hills Harvest brand sustainable elderberry foods & beverages are always made from native elderberry, Sambucus nigra canadensis, grown in the USA by American farmers and owned by American farmers. Not from concentrate, extracts, powders or imported elderberries in any form. We especially recommend their pure ElderBerry Juice as a good, nutrient dense alternative.

If your local natural foods store does not stock these products, have them contact me about our Direct Ship program that we use to reach out across the country where our regional distributors don’t supply. Chris Patton,

Are Raw Native Elderberries Safe? 

Elderberry Flower Production and Cyanide Concern
Andrew L. Thomas University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences, Southwest Research Center Mt. Vernon, MO.  This article gives a photo and graph rundown of a multi-year study investigating the whether native North American Sambucus (nigra) canadensis contains proto-cyanide glycosides in quantities sufficient to warrant specific processing requirements beyond clean harvest. 

Summary of Findings:

  • Picrate paper method was successfully used to assess the total cyanogenic potential.
  • A control test with two apple varieties showed high levels of cyanide in the seeds.
  • No cyanide was detected in commercial (processed) elderberry juice
  • Levels of cyanide detected in tissues of fresh berries were very low; lowest in juice & seeds and highest in stems & green berries.
  • Levels of CNG’s detected with LC-MS method were very low in all tissues and consistent with picrate results.
  • Detected levels pose no threat to American Elderberry consumers. Excluding stems, green berries and leaves in juice preparation is recommended.

[Click here to read the full article.]

This does not seem to be true for European Sambucus nigra elderberries, which have a history of production processes to neutralize the potential issues related to glycosides. That is why those imported ingredients are more processed and may also be part of the reason why native elderberries taste better than the European ones.

While recent research at the university of Missouri (looking to be published) indicates that fresh/frozen, ripe elderberries do not have significant levels of glycosides, some few people seem to be strongly affected by consuming raw elderberries or elderberry juice, where it upsets their digestive system. Why they have a lower tolerance for elderberry is not clearly understood. Fresh and raw frozen berries that are fermented or heated so that the entire volume reaches 180° F, or more have not been associated with any health related incidents to our knowledge

Technical Note: Cultivar “Marge” was not a part of the above study and is likely to have more glycosides present since it is classified as an American adapted European Sambucus nigra. (4/9/2019 email from Andrew Thomas lead researcher UMO).

Buying Wholesale Elder Berry / Flower Ingredient Products
We welcome professional food and beverage processors/manufacturers to partner of specific elderberry and elderflower ingredient specification development. If interested, please contact Chris Patton directly.

Be sure to check out our page covering recent research on elder berries and flowers as nutritionally dense ingredients in foods and beverages with demonstrated antiviral, antibacterial and many other health benefits.

Midwest Elderberry Cooperative currently packs and sells bulk frozen, destemmed and sanitized elderberries in 4 gallon/25 lb. food grade pails, dried elderberries and elderflowers by the pound, raw frozen bulk elderberry juice by the two-gallon jug, and are developing an elderberry puree and bulk freeze-dried native elderberries. 

Variation of Select Flavonols and Chlorogenic Acid Content of Elderberry Collected Throughout the Eastern United States, 
J Food Compost Anal. 2016 Apr 1; 47: 52–59. doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2015.12.003
Elizabeth Mudge,a Wendy L. Applequist,b Jamie Finley,a Patience Lister,a Andrew K. Townesmith,b Karen M. Walker,b and Paula N. Browna,*

American elderberries are commonly collected from wild plants for use as food and medicinal products. The degree of phytochemical variation amongst wild populations has not been established and might affect the overall quality of elderberry dietary supplements. The three major flavonols identified in elderberries are rutin, quercetin and isoquercetin. Variation in the flavonols and chlorogenic acid was determined for 107 collections of elderberries from throughout the eastern United States using an optimized high performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection method. The mean content was 71.9 mg per 100g fresh weight with variation ranging from 7.0 to 209.7 mg per 100 g fresh weight within the collected population. Elderberries collected from southeastern regions had significantly higher contents in comparison with those in more northern regions. The variability of the individual flavonol and chlorogenic acid profiles of the berries was complex and likely influenced by multiple factors. Several outliers were identified based on unique phytochemical profiles in comparison with average populations. This is the first study to determine the inherent variability of American elderberries from wild collections and can be used to identify potential new cultivars that may produce fruits of unique or high-quality phytochemical content for the food and dietary supplement industries. Read the entire article here:

[Note: all American, Sambucus canadensis, named elderberry cultivars were collected from the wild at some point.  Some more recently than others. Some with more human breeding efforts involved than others. The same elderberry plant farmed well will have higher nutrition levels than wild collected according to European studies referenced on the Functional Ingredient page found on this website.]

Black Currants

Through a member in western WI, we have access to over 10,000 lb. of frozen cleaned black currants and 25,000 lb. of frozen black currants on the stem - mostly in 40 lb. boxes. 

Price for quantities under 1,000 lb. is $3.00/lb. plus shipping for any black currant order. For orders of 1,000 lb. or more, is $2.50/lb. cleaned and $2.20/lb. on the stem plus shippingTo order, email Chris Patton, 

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© Midwest Elderberry Cooperative 2018