Aronia berries, native to the eastern United States, are actually pome fruits (like apples), and are perhaps higher in antioxidants than any berry, higher than blueberries, wolfberries and cranberries. The deep purple color of the berries contains antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
The berries hang on the bush well, allowing for an extended time for harvest in the early fall. The sour, astringent berries can be eaten right from the bush, but they are more often used processed or the juice mixed with other juices.
Aronia plants are very long lived and may be grown as an ornamental woody shrub with wonderful fall color. They are easy to grow and although deer may be a problem, they are generally not bothered by many pests. They prefer at least a half day of sun with moderately fertile soil and a slightly acid pH.
Aronia may be spaced 4-8 feet apart if they are planted in a row with the closer spacing for a hedge effect, but a single plant may be used since they are self fertile. The canes become less productive as they age, so remove stems greater than one inch in diameter in late winter beginning when they are 5 years old to encourage new growth and greater productivity.
Viking and Raintree Select are varieties of aronia found in the Fruit Garden.