Aronia - commonly known as "black chokeberry." Aronia is a woody, perennial shrub native to eastern United States and hardy to zone three. It grows in full sun and along woodland edges. This plant is not the same as a chokeberry, which contains toxic amounts of prussic acid.
- Midwest Aronia Association - nonprofit organization to promote all aspects of aronia growing.
- National Aronia Council - forum for all segments of the industry to share information, develop the industry and market aronia.
Elderberry - It costs between $2,500 and $4,500 to establish an acre of plants, plus another $1,500 in annual costs. By the third year, an acre can yield 5,000 pounds of berries. A pound is worth anywhere from $0.50 to $25, depending on how it is used.
Paw-paw - the largest tree fruit native to the United States. This fruit, known commonly as the “poor man’s banana,” may reach more than a pound in weight. Pawpaws grow wild in the hardwood forests of 25 states in the eastern United States, ranging from northern Florida to southern Ontario (Canada) and as far west as eastern Nebraska. In Iowa, it is found in the southeast and southwest parts of the state.
Black walnuts - In addition to producing nuts, the tree produces a wood used for furniture veneer. The meat is in demand for cooking and as an ice cream topping.
Maple Syrup - Iowa is not generally thought of as being a maple syrup producing state, but it does have a few commercial producers in the Northeastern part of the state. Currently the local market for maple syrup and candies is greater than the supply. A potential producer of maple syrup must carefully analyze their individual situation before embarking on this labor intensive enterprise. One must have maple species (sugar maple, black maple, silver maple or boxelder) at least ten inches in diameter, the resources to invest in the necessary equipment and supplies, and the large amount of time and labor required by this enterprise. The size of the operation will vary greatly; small home use production can be accomplished with an investment as small as $50-$100 or as much as several thousand dollars to become more mechanized and automatic.
Wine Grapes - Presently, there are 101 licensed wineries and over 300 vineyards (totaling 1,200+ acres) in Iowa. The potential economic opportunities in wineries, value-added agriculture and tourism are limitless.