Black Currants: A Superfruit for the Midwest

High in vitamin C and other antioxidants, black currants are regarded as one of the best berries for overall human health.

Buyers appreciate the dark color of the berries and their juice, and their nutrient density makes black currants a real superfood. Growers appreciate that black currants are very cold-hardy, tolerate a wide range of soils and are not a preferred food for whitetail deer. The shrub crop matures relatively quickly compared to other perennial tree crops and is suitable for machine harvest. Plus, black currants are one of the few fruits that produce well in partial shade, including under larger trees like chestnuts – making it an ideal crop for agroforestry systems.

Want to learn more about this perennial superfruit?

Black currants are one of the richest sources of antioxidants like vitamin C. In fact, they have three times as much vitamin C as oranges. That means half of a cup of black currants provides your recommended daily intake.

Download Black Currant Resources

Black Currant Fact Sheet

  • Learn about the health benefits and history of black currants.
  • Distribute this printable fact sheet at your restaurant, Farmer’s Market stand or U-Pick business.
  • Available in English and Spanish. Hmong coming soon.

Coming Soon: Grower’s Guide

  • Explore how black currants can fit in with your farm goals and management.
  • Learn about the site suitability and preparation for growing black currants.
  • Learn lessons from the mistakes of experienced growers.

Hear From a Grower

a hazelnut bush in summer

Profitable Berry Crops for the Upper Midwest

Blue Fruit Farm podcast with grower Jim Riddle

Jim Riddle has been an organic farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy analyst, author, and speaker for more than 35 years. Jim co-owns and operates Blue Fruit Farm near Winona, Minnesota, where he and his wife Joyce Ford grow blueberries, black currants, elderberries, aronia berries, honeyberries and more. Jim has a wealth of knowledge about organic berry production, and in this podcast episode, he shares his advice for growing and direct marketing fresh berries as well as processed fruit products.

Looking for plant material?

National Nursery and Seed Directory

The directory is your online source for finding businesses that support the propagation of forest and native plant materials in the US and Canada.

Black Currants at Canopy Farm Management

Canopy is a perennial farm management business whose research on black currants informed these resources. Canopy’s nursery raises and sells black currants among key tree crops including: chestnut, walnut, pecan, hazelnut, heartnut, persimmon, pawpaw and elderberry. A portion of Canopy’s profits are donated to the Savanna Institute to further its research and education mission.

a hazelnut bush in summer

Ready for some on-farm training?

 

Each summer the Savanna Institute runs an on-farm agroforestry apprenticeship program. This program pairs beginning farmers with experienced agroforesters for 10 weeks of hand-on training and mentoring. Program participants also join an online course and travel to area farms as a cohort to build their network and gain exposure to the wide range of agroforestry practices present across the Midwest.

 

 

Contact an Agroforester

Get help planning your agroforestry system. Contact a community agroforester to ask more about how you can adopt perennial agriculture on the land in your care.