Since 2014 we have been experimenting with growing different varieties domestic berries to see how they grow on our land. We potted up several varieties of Blue Berries, planted two rows of raspberries, potted up Strawberries, Gooseberries, Huckleberries, Mulberries and Elderberries. Berries- we will have lots of them.
We are preparing the fields for a Spring 2017 planting of those berries that passed our test.
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Before the 1940’s the Marshall Strawberry thrived on Whidbey, Bainbridge and Vashon
Island farms. The Marshall strawberry, (Fragaria ananassa,) is a strawberry species variety that is known for “exceptional taste and firmness” and had been described as “the finest eating strawberry” in America by James Beard chef extraordinaire. The strawberry was all but wiped out by a virus in the 1940’s. The Marshall Strawberry is currently being maintained at the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon, and by very few private growers. Eaglemount Farms will receive our first Marshal Starwberry plants in the spring of 2015. We will cultivate them along with two other varieties know to thrive in our area of the Cascadia Bio-region.
Eaglemount Farms will be cultivating two exceptional Elderberries and living in harmony with one variety that is native to the land, the red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). The farm will be cultivating many native plants over time but our primary native plant focus for 2014 through 2015 will be indigenous elderberries- blue in color (Sambucus caerulea) and the highly prized black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), which is found in many areas of the country but was brought to the this country by European Americans. Both were primarily used to make immune-strengthening medicine and also used to make wine, cordials, and jams and jellies.
The blue elderberry (Sambucus caerulea) has a fine white film on the berry which has been identified as a special yeast that is paramount to wine making. This special berry was over-harvested in the 1930’s and 40’s in our area by pharmaceutical companies who recognized that the berry made kick-ass cough and cold medicine…and it tastes really good. Other quantities were harvest to make wine and cordials, again wonderful tasting and easy to make with the blue elders natural yeasts. This plant is also a prime pollinator attractant. Wild bees, domestic bees and other pollinators are high attracted to the lovely white flower. This plant will be included in our pollinator pathways around fields and along Chimacum Creek. We will be selling the plants and the berries.
The second Elderberry to be cultivated on this land will be the Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), which was brought to the US from Europe by migrating peoples. This elderberry has a very strong healing capacity, and like the blue elderberry is prized for making medicine, cordials and wines.
The flowerheads are commonly used in infusions, giving a very common refreshing drink. Commercially these are sold as elderflower cordial, etc. In Europe, the flowers are made into a syrup or cordial (in Romanian: Socată, in Swedish: fläder(blom)saft), which is diluted with water before drinking. Both flowers and berries are use to make elderberry wine.
Both the blue and the black elderberry plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many native peoples and
In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) was shown to be effective for treating Influenza B. People using the elderberry extract recovered much faster than those only on a placebo. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine.
A small study published in 2004 showed that 93% of flu patients given extract were completely symptom-free within two days; those taking a placebo recovered in about six days. This current study shows that it works for type A flu, reports lead researcher Erling Thom, with the University of Oslo in Norway. Just like all FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs the study that showed these results was sponsored by the company that produces the product. Further study confirmed the beneficial effect of elderberry on Influenza.
Red Elderberry is native to our region and although somewhat more poisonous is an extremely beneficial plant for wildlife and forest health. Eaglemount Farms honors this relation and will not remove red elderberry from our land.
We are setting up the native plant nursery and building shade houses and starting hundreds of varieties of native plants through seeds, cuttings and root stock, including elderberries in 2014 and 2015. We should be able to sell plants and berries in 2017.