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OUR STORY

We are a small family owned elderberry farm.

My name is Kim and my husband's name is Bert Fruchey. Hence K & B in our farm name. Together we have built our farm.  Bert does all the field work that requires the tractor and other equipment.  My job is to tend to the plants, harvest and process the flowers and berries. I am a retired teacher and network administrator for a local school district. My husband is still working full time.

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ABOUT K & B ELDERBERRY ACRES

After my retirement, I had no plans to start an elderberry farm, but God had plans for me to begin this business journey.  I used to forage for elderberries for my family. In the fall of 2020 I had an excess of berries and decided to put an ad on facebook marketplace for 1 lb bags of fresh frozen destemmed and washed elderberries. I did this at about 9 pm on a Sunday evening and told my husband I was going to bed.  Almost immediately my phone went crazy with fb messages of people wanting to purchase my berries.  By midnight I had sold all the extra berries I had available. I told my husband I thought we were on to something with this and from that, we began planning our farm. At that time, I researched everything I could about elderberries. I purchased my first cuttings and we prepared our field for planting in the spring of 2020.  Ever since that one crazy evening, God has been guiding us with the farm.  Thus at the bottom of our logo is the bible verse Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." 

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"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."

Psalm 32:8

In our first year, I only sold 1 lb bags of fresh frozen berries on facebook.  That was a very stressful summer/fall.  It was very difficult to keep track of orders I received and trying to meet people at various locations. I also began selling at various farmers markets; Defiance, Hillsdale, Pioneer and Wauseon.  The second year I only sold at farmers markets. Last year I sold at the Defiance Farmers Market and several Craft Shows. In addition, we were blessed to sell our products  at Johnstons Fruit Farm in Swanton, Ohio. I no longer sell my products on Facebook.

Last year a dear friend of ours; who loves to cook, helped us by making elderberry syrup for us.  We were also able to offer pure elderberry juice. These products were a huge addition to our product line.  With the addition of these two items we were able to purchase an elderberry destemmer. This was a huge addition to our business since it will help speed up the processing time.

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"We began planting 450 cuttings of 7 cultivars on 5 acres in the spring of 2021."

This will be the first year we will also be attending the Toledo Westgate Farmers Market. 

As a result of adding this market we were required to obtain several licenses. A Nursery license was required to sell my plants and/or cuttings. I had to have a nursery inspection from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) which we passed. 

 

Next we had to have several food licences from the ODA which required me to take a class and get training on how to properly and safely prepare my products.

 

Lastly I needed a freezer license also from the ODA. There were many steps involved in getting my juice and syrup so they are shelf stable and approved by the ODA. I am actually still awaiting a few additional steps before I receive my license. Once I obtain my license I will be producing my products at the Northwest Ohio Commercial Kitchen (NOCK) near Bowling Green, Ohio. 

We are also determined to only sell naturally grown elderflowers and elderberries without toxic chemicals and pesticides.  The term "organic" is licensed and is extremely expensive to obtain.  We wanted our patrons to know we do not use toxic chemicals or pesticides so we are now a "Certified Naturally Grown" (CNG) farm.

 

We also go through inspections and have to abide by CNG practices.
This year has been extremely busy but we are excited to offer wonderful naturally grown products to our customers.

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