Find out when to find fresh elderberries in season!
Have you ever had an elderberry?
It is one of the many fruits that are growing in popularity over the last few years. In doing so they are looking to these what the media calls superfoods. Elderberries are one of those superfoods.
Check your local Whole Foods Market in their Whole Body department. You are sure to find elderberry syrup - recommended to give your immune system a boast.
Whenever someone in my family gets sick or is starting to get sick, we always take a spoon full of elderberry syrup. The first time I tried this everyone else in my family was really sick and I was the last one to get it. I was only sick for a day and it wasn't as bad as theirs (if you are interested in natural ways of treat colds and flus, check out Norm's Farms website on the subject)
When are Elderberries in Season?
Depending on the part of the country you are in the harvest begins in late May in California and ends in September in Maine.
Let's start with the south, particular North Carolina. I recently have been in touch with Norm's Farms in Pittsboro, North Carolina. I have been sampling and reviewing their amazing elderberry products (such as these jams and jellys). Their elderberry harvest is ongoing now (as I write this on July 31st) and will last a couple more weeks.
The average start of the season is in mid July.
The harvest is the United States as a whole lasts about 8-10 weeks, starting in the south and heading northward.
Elderberries are unique in a few ways.
First, the flowers mature at different times. Flowers begin to appear in May. The plants still may have flowers on them in July when there are actually berries ready to be picked. It is not like say picking an apple tree, where often you get all the apples off the tree at once. You return to harvest the berries again and again.
List by State
You will find a list of below of when elderberries ripen by state. I found as many states as I could.
If yours is missing please leave a comment below and I will add it to the list. Each time is an approximate. The weather plays a huge role in the exact timing of the harvest each year.
|Southern California, late May-early June|
|Northern California, late June|
|North Carolina, mid July|
|Kentucky, early August|
|Kansas, late July|
|Ohio, mid to late August|
|Michigan, late August|
|Missouri, late July-early August|
|Montana, late August-early September|
|New Jersey, mid August|
|Pennsylvania, mid August|
|New York, late August-early September|
|Washington, late August-early September|
How to Find Fresh Elderberries
This can be tricky. Elderberries have practically no shelf life. They begin to ferment in less than a day. Although I have spotted them once at a farmer's market, even that is a rare.
A grocery store is completely out of the question. So either you need to grow them yourself or find a local farm that is growing them and get them fresh off the plant.
If you are interested in growing them yourself, check out Norm's Farms website and sign up for their email list. They offer cuttings you can buy to plant your own elderberries. Norm's also offers advice on how to root elderberry cuttings.
My State of Florida was not on the list. Can I grow them here?
Absolutely, you can grow them in Florida.
Elderberry bushes/trees grow wild along roadsides and in empty lots where there is lots of sunshine. You can always try to dig up a plant for free - if you are not trespassing and the you dress appropriately for waling thru the brush (poison ivy, uneven ground, thorny bushes, insects, snakes, cars/trucks whizzing by, etc).
Once established, trees send out lateral shoots/suckers. These can be cut out carefully to establish a berry patch elsewhere.
What about South Alabama (Mobile)?
I am not 100% sure as their isn't much info out there on Alabama and elderberries. The best I could find was them ripening sometime in June.
Hi I live in Idaho when is the best time to harvest elderberries here ?
Beginning to late August.