Episode 271: Blake Johnson

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In the world of superfoods, one name stands out as a pioneer in harnessing the potential of aronia berries: Blake Johnson, the visionary force behind the American Aronia Accelerator. Through his dedication and unwavering commitment to health and wellness, Johnson has propelled aronia berries into the spotlight, shining a light on their exceptional health benefits and culinary versatility. On today’s episode of the podcast, we will hear about how his determination led him to establish the American Aronia Accelerator, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at unlocking the berry’s nutritional prowess.

Transcript:

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[Lori Taylor]: Hey everybody, welcome back.

It’s Lori with the Produce Moms podcast. As

 

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[Lori Taylor]: you know, I love hosting this

show and coming back to you week after week.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: It’s definitely something that

just warms my heart. And the biggest reason

 

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[Lori Taylor]: why is because we get to meet

so many amazing people and hear some incredible

 

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[Lori Taylor]: stories right here together on

the Produce Moms podcast. So we are continuing

 

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[Lori Taylor]: our theme, talking about superfoods.

And today is, gosh, some people would probably

 

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[Lori Taylor]: say it’s like the superfood of

superfoods. Maybe even an item that you have

 

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[Lori Taylor]: not even tried, or maybe we have

tried it. You just don’t know about it. All

 

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[Lori Taylor]: right. So here’s the kicker.

I don’t think I’ve ever tried an Aronia berry.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Um, but I’ve heard a lot about

them and I’ve heard like they’re getting some

 

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[Lori Taylor]: momentum even here domestically.

There’s an American Aronia accelerator. Um,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: three a, I think is what their

alias is or ACE two, I don’t know. We’ll find

 

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[Lori Taylor]: out because we’ve got, uh, we’ve

got Blake Johnson. He is the CEO. of the American

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Aronia Accelerator. He is an

Aronia berry grower. He comes from a long history

 

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[Lori Taylor]: of agriculture within his family.

So multi-generation American ag, first generation

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Aronia berry grower. So with

that, Blake, we’re so glad you’re with us.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Welcome to the Produce Moms Podcast.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Hey, thanks, Laurie. Really

excited to be here. So thanks for having me

 

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[Blake Johnson]: on. Thanks for

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I’m

 

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[Blake Johnson]: the great

 

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[Lori Taylor]: so

 

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[Blake Johnson]: interview.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: glad you’re here. Yeah. And like

I said, I mean, I really think that we’re all

 

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[Lori Taylor]: going to learn a lot. Um, I know

I probably shouldn’t ask you this question,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: but I feel like I’ve never tried

an Aronia berry. Do you think that I’ve had

 

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[Lori Taylor]: one and just didn’t realize it?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: You know, if you’ve traveled

in Eastern Europe or in Europe, you’ve probably

 

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[Blake Johnson]: had one.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Stateside, probably not.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay, well, interesting. I’m

not super well traveled in Europe. I’ve been

 

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[Lori Taylor]: to Paris. I don’t remember anything

having, and throughout France, I don’t remember

 

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[Lori Taylor]: having aronia berries when I

was there, but maybe I did. But Blake, let’s

 

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[Lori Taylor]: talk about the fruit. I mean,

so I think that there’s probably going to be

 

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[Lori Taylor]: a real level of discovery for

everyone who’s with us today. I could not define

 

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[Lori Taylor]: an aronia berry if someone asked

me to. So I’m gonna ask you. You’re the farmer,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: you’re the CEO of the America

Aronia Accelerator, so tell us what an Aronia

 

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[Lori Taylor]: berry is.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: An aronia berry is a, it’s

a Midwest, US grown crop that’s underutilized.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: And it’s the highest variant

antioxidants, resveratol, catechins, and originally

 

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[Blake Johnson]: used by native Americans as

a cold remedy. So it’s got a long history

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: of health and wellness benefits.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow, okay. So, and the fact that

it’s a Midwest thing, I also am quite embarrassed,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: because you know I’m from Indiana,

and I feel like that’s part of my personal

 

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[Lori Taylor]: and professional identity in

a big way as being a Midwest steward to all

 

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[Lori Taylor]: things agriculture. So I feel

like I need to apologize to the American Erronea

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Accelerator, but here we are.

Like you’ve got your big spotlight moment,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: and we’re all getting educated

on this together. Um, okay. So what’s it taste

 

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[Lori Taylor]: like if it’s that healthy? Is

it like super bitter?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: I would say it tastes like

a crab apple or a sweet

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Oh,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: green apple, a tart green apple.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: It does leave that drier feeling

in your mouth. Like if you go to Napa Valley

 

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[Blake Johnson]: and have a really dry Merlot,

it will

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Mm-hmm.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: have that health feel. That’s

the tannins in there because it’s absolutely

 

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[Blake Johnson]: loaded with tannins.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Really? Okay. What’s it look

like?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Looks like a blueberry. I mean,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Go.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: same size, just a deeper, darker

purple,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: but grown pretty similarly

too. I mean,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: it grows on a shrub.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: It’s a harvest once a year,

you know, it comes back every year.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay, interesting. And so are

a lot of the folks who grow aronia berries,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: are they also in the blueberry

business?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: You know what, we originally,

so every, all the machinery comes from Poland.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So the original machinery that

we started using was a blueberry picker. So

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Oh, okay. Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: there

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I’ve been

 

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[Blake Johnson]: are

 

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[Lori Taylor]: on,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: some…

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I’ve like the tractor that goes

through and

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Yeah.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: yeah, I’ve, I’ve actually even

driven one of those Blake. So, okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So yeah, really, what we saw

a lot of our growers is they did it for diversification

 

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[Blake Johnson]: on the farm. You know, if the

corn crop is having a bad year, maybe they’ll

 

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[Blake Johnson]: have at least a reliable source

of income through aronia. But we do have, you

 

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[Blake Johnson]: know, a seventh-generational

cranberry grower in Warren, Wisconsin that

 

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[Blake Johnson]: also grows aronia berries.

And so there

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: are some people that grow blueberries

as well that do aronia. Quite frankly, it’s

 

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[Blake Johnson]: been just a diversification

play for a lot of these typical commodity row

 

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[Blake Johnson]: crop farmers. Your corn, your

beans, your wheat,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Sure, yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: something different.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: And I’m assuming that the diversification

has yielded some positive returns or else,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: there probably wouldn’t be an

American Aronia Accelerator and you probably

 

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[Lori Taylor]: wouldn’t have seventh generation

cranberry growers getting into this.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, well, it’s taken a while,

right? We’ve had, it’s been going for about,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: A3 has been going for about

two years, but there have been two co-ops that

 

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[Blake Johnson]: have tried to get Aronia to

the forefront, but you know, farmers are really

 

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[Blake Johnson]: good at growing crops.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: They don’t have time to do

the marketing, educating

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Oh,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: the market

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I know.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: as you

 

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[Lori Taylor]: That’s

 

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[Blake Johnson]: do.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: why I created this business Blake.

Like that’s how I, that’s why I have a seat

 

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[Lori Taylor]: at the table. And really you

have to focus on the farming. There’s too many,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: too many variables, so much regulation.

Um, and it’s like, okay, you, you either need

 

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[Lori Taylor]: to have dedicated staff to the

marketing or align with trusted third parties.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: So I completely agree with you.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Yeah. And you know, I was guilty

of just sitting on the sidelines as a grower

 

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[Blake Johnson]: for

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Mm-hmm.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: eight years and, you know,

seeing these costs build up, collapse, build

 

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[Blake Johnson]: up, collapse. And finally,

you know, I’ve got a pretty good network and

 

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[Blake Johnson]: some great friends in marketing

and business. I said, you know, it’s time to,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: it’s time to step up. And that’s

why we started eight three. And

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: my whole background is egg

and biosystems engineering. So, you know, marketing

 

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[Blake Johnson]: is not my strong suit. So I

found some really good people, some really

 

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[Blake Johnson]: good friends to help do this.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I love it. Well, we’re going

to pull out the storyteller in you today and

 

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[Lori Taylor]: turn you into a marketing and

brand ambassador here on the show. Okay, so

 

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[Lori Taylor]: let’s start with how it all began.

So if it’s a crop that was essentially indigenous,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I mean, it was part of Native

American lifestyle, why don’t more people know

 

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[Lori Taylor]: about it?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So get your mousse, your gel,

your LA gear, shoes on. We gotta go back to

 

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[Blake Johnson]: the 80s.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So this is where this started.

But

 

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[Lori Taylor]: What about

 

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[Blake Johnson]: like,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Reebok pumps? I was a real

 

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[Blake Johnson]: okay,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: big

 

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[Blake Johnson]: you’re

 

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[Lori Taylor]: fan

 

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[Blake Johnson]: my

 

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[Lori Taylor]: of the Reebok

 

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[Blake Johnson]: car.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: pump.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: I sell every one of those.

My mom would never let me have them.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yes.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Bye.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: And my Lisa Frank binder. Did

you

 

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[Blake Johnson]: I’m

 

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[Lori Taylor]: probably?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: sorry.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah. I don’t know if you remember

those. Like every girl had the Lisa Frank binder

 

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[Lori Taylor]: with like the orca whale on it.

Okay. I’m,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So now,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I’m there. I’m in the zone. Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: okay, 1980s, early 80s, so

Poland took a cultivar from North Dakota, an

 

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[Blake Johnson]: aronia cultivar, they brought

it over there. They started populating and

 

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[Blake Johnson]: growing and harvesting aronia

to the extent that they now do 55 million pounds

 

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[Blake Johnson]: a year

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: of aronia

 

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[Lori Taylor]: And Poland?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: in Poland and Ukraine in that

area.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Bye.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So about 10 years ago, a gentleman

from Iowa, brought one of their cultivars back

 

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[Blake Johnson]: called the Viking variety.

And it was supposed to, basically what that

 

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[Blake Johnson]: is, is all the fruit ripens

at the same time. It’s a little shorter than

 

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[Blake Johnson]: the Mackenzie variety. So it’s

easier to harvest mechanically. So Iowa is

 

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[Blake Johnson]: now the hotbed of Aronia. That’s

where, you know, I think they have at least

 

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[Blake Johnson]: one Aronia plant in every single

county in Iowa.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow, okay,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Iowa

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Iowa.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: State University, their extension

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I guess that

 

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[Blake Johnson]: sort

 

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[Lori Taylor]: makes

 

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[Blake Johnson]: of.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: sense though, when you talk about

it being primarily attractive to growers for

 

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[Lori Taylor]: the diversification. So

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Right.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: these growers who are in the

row crop business, corn, wheat, soybeans, makes

 

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[Lori Taylor]: sense. They’ve got this land

and rotating crops. It sounds like Aronia’s

 

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[Lori Taylor]: become a big solution for them.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, exactly.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: And then I heard it from an

uncle who was down in Nebraska who started

 

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[Blake Johnson]: growing it and coming from

my dad grew up on a farm and he worked his

 

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[Blake Johnson]: butt off to get off the farm.

He went into medicine, he was an orthopedic

 

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[Blake Johnson]: surgeon. So I come from a whole

line of medicine. My mom was a nurse, brother

 

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[Blake Johnson]: was a dentist. And I thought,

you know what, I can kill two birds with one

 

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[Blake Johnson]: stone here. One I can go back

to the farm. I can see my grandparents a little

 

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[Blake Johnson]: bit more before they pass away.

It’s about 90 minutes from Fargo.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: I love being out there. I’m

an outdoors guy. And then secondly, knowing

 

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[Blake Johnson]: all the benefits, Hey, I maybe

I can put my impact on, you know, medicine

 

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[Blake Johnson]: or health or whatnot, like

the rest of my family’s done through Aronia

 

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[Blake Johnson]: berries and products and getting

this out to everybody.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Sure.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So that was my real driving

force for putting them in the ground. It was

 

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[Blake Johnson]: never a monetary thing. And

like I said, I sat on the sidelines, you know,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: watching other people do things

and until we started this. So that’s really

 

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[Blake Johnson]: why I got started.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow, interesting. Okay, and so

when it came from, so funny, it kind of reminds

 

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[Lori Taylor]: me of like, almost like the Durham

wheat story. Like, you know, it came from Arizona,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: then it went to Italy, they turned

it into pasta, and it became, you know, something

 

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[Lori Taylor]: that we then imported back into

the States. So that’s kind of what this story

 

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[Lori Taylor]: of the berry and the agricultural

growth of this in particular fruit is kind

 

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[Lori Taylor]: of reminding me of, but… All

right, so let’s talk about, I gotta ask you

 

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[Lori Taylor]: the question I ask everyone.

It’ll be very interesting to see what you say,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: especially with your scientific

background. So what is a superfood, Blake?

 

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[Lori Taylor]: How do you define it?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: superfood is something you

have to eat and then they make a Marvel movie

 

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[Blake Johnson]: about you, right? You have

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Oh

 

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[Blake Johnson]: some

 

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[Lori Taylor]: come on, yeah, a little true,

okay, maybe.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: To me, I guess I define a superfruit

as something that benefits you or a health

 

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[Blake Johnson]: function by consuming it on

a regular basis.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Beautiful. Okay. So let’s dive

into why Aronia berry fits that definition.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Okay.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: So you mentioned that it’s full

of antioxidants and other nutritional properties,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: anything that you’re comfortable

diving into as it relates to the nutritional

 

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[Lori Taylor]: benefits of this, of

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Yeah,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: this berry.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: absolutely. So like I said,

medicine is kind of in my family. So know quite

 

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[Blake Johnson]: a bit about it through the

periphery of being around it. But my mom’s

 

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[Blake Johnson]: has hypertension. My brother’s

got hypertension. I was borderline hypertension

 

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[Blake Johnson]: and started taking eronia.

I no longer am even close to needing blood

 

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[Blake Johnson]: pressure medication. But yeah,

I can even, I mean, it lowers blood, in 2021.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: I’ll just read this off, dude.

They did a six to eight week study that significantly

 

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[Blake Johnson]: reduced blood cholesterol and

systolic blood pressure.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: So that’s huge. That’s a…

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah. And to not have to like

get on a daily statin medication or something

 

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[Lori Taylor]: like that.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Right,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: take something natural that

can

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Right.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: do that. And then they also

had a couple of people in a nursing home, they

 

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[Blake Johnson]: did a three month study where

they drank three ounces of veronia juice and

 

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[Blake Johnson]: they decreased UTIs by 55%.

So there’s, I mean, there’s all of these different

 

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[Blake Johnson]: studies that have been done.

Most of them obviously have been done in Europe.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: The US is starting to do some

as well, but there’s tons

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Right.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: of health benefits. And again,

it’s the highest in resveratrol. Remember with

 

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[Blake Johnson]: raspberry, everyone’s going

crazy because of the resveratrol that was in

 

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[Blake Johnson]: raspberries. Well,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Right.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Aronia happens to be higher

than raspberries and resveratrol.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: We’ve kind of discussed that

with a few different episodes. Like we had

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Jackie London, she’s essentially

our honorary nutrition officer here at the

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Produce Mom. She’s a registered

dietician and has been involved from clinical

 

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[Lori Taylor]: to media and research work and

beyond. But we talked a lot about kiwi actually

 

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[Lori Taylor]: and how it’s a lot more potassium

than a banana, but people don’t realize that

 

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[Lori Taylor]: because… the food marketers

found something that they could, the banana

 

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[Lori Taylor]: marketers were like, okay, we’re

gonna promote this fruit for its potassium

 

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[Lori Taylor]: content, which is great. No one’s

saying that bananas aren’t leaders in potassium,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: but they certainly aren’t the

produce department’s leader the way that most

 

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[Lori Taylor]: people assume. So this, I can’t

remember the micronutrient resveratol, what

 

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[Lori Taylor]: is it called again? How do you

pronounce it?

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Resveratone?

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Resveratol, I don’t. I’m not

really, I mean, I’ve heard it, but I’m not

 

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[Lori Taylor]: really familiar with it. So raspberries

have been promoted as the produce department

 

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[Lori Taylor]: leader in Rosvera Talk.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Oh yeah, when Dr. Ross had

an episode, I remember watching and like everything

 

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[Blake Johnson]: on Amazon sold out for resveratrol.

It was just

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Interesting.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: flying

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: off the market.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I know. I don’t know who the

modern day, um, like Dr. Oz effect is on, on

 

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[Lori Taylor]: food episodes. I mean, I remember

being at the sales desk and he would like say

 

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[Lori Taylor]: something about, um, a Romanesco

was one of the veggies that he talked about.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: And you know, we would sell maybe

two cases of Romanesco a day, you know, at

 

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[Lori Taylor]: that time, and now Dr. Oz talked

about on a show and everyone was like, I need

 

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[Lori Taylor]: to get Romanesco. And it’s crazy.

I don’t know who, who in the modern day society

 

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[Lori Taylor]: has that kind of impact. I mean,

certainly, uh,

 

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[Blake Johnson]: It’s you,

 

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[Lori Taylor]: it’s.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Laurie.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I hope

 

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[Blake Johnson]: It’s

 

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[Lori Taylor]: so.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: you.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Right. Like we’re trying to build

that for sure at the produce mom. So thanks

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Blake. Um, all right. So let’s,

so this is, this is good to know. So I love

 

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[Lori Taylor]: the stories too, that talk about,

you know, like the studies with the UTIs and

 

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[Lori Taylor]: your own personal journey with

erronea. How is it marketed to folks? Is it

 

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[Lori Taylor]: mostly marketed as a supplement

or in the juice form? Is there market access

 

294

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[Lori Taylor]: even for the fresh form?

 

295

00:14:34,334 –> 00:14:37,276

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, there’s in Iowa, you

can buy it fresh.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Mm-hmm.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: We, what we do is we have a

lot of IQF. So I mean, think of your

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yep.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: smoothie medleys that you’d

put in your smoothie. I use it, I use a Roni

 

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[Blake Johnson]: in my smoothie every morning

after the gym. It’s a great natural anti-inflammatory

 

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[Blake Johnson]: and being 40 and two back surgeries,

I need that more than ever.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Yeah. And I couldn’t even see

it as like, is it available as a boost at like

 

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[Lori Taylor]: any of the smoothie shops? Like

I go to Tropical Smoothie Cafe all the time.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: Mm-hmm.

 

305

00:15:07,410 –> 00:15:13,452

[Lori Taylor]: Um, and I usually add like the

Vital Proteins Collagen and to my Detox Island

 

306

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[Lori Taylor]: Green, but can

 

307

00:15:15,458 –> 00:15:15,623

[Blake Johnson]: That’s

 

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00:15:15,553 –> 00:15:15,593

[Lori Taylor]: I

 

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[Blake Johnson]: the

 

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[Lori Taylor]: add

 

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[Blake Johnson]: best.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Aronia Berries? Like does that

exist at other, at other

 

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[Blake Johnson]: It doesn’t work.

 

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00:15:19,574 –> 00:15:20,334

[Lori Taylor]: food service?

 

315

00:15:20,771 –> 00:15:22,676

[Blake Johnson]: It doesn’t. That’s what we’re

trying to get going here. Yeah.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Oh my gosh. Okay. Well, I’m,

I’m going to make, I’m going to make the requests.

 

317

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[Lori Taylor]: Would

 

318

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[Blake Johnson]: Ha

 

319

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[Lori Taylor]: I

 

320

00:15:28,165 –> 00:15:28,247

[Blake Johnson]: ha!

 

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[Lori Taylor]: go, cause they know me at least

this one franchise by my house. I’m going to

 

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[Lori Taylor]: request the Aronia berries and

try to get that dialogue going. Little grassroots

 

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[Lori Taylor]: gorilla marketing for you. But,

um, so yeah, so I assume that if it’s, if it

 

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[Lori Taylor]: has that tart flavor, it probably

really lends beautifully to smoothies then.

 

325

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[Blake Johnson]: It does. Yeah,

 

326

00:15:47,778 –> 00:15:48,038

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

327

00:15:47,947 –> 00:15:51,450

[Blake Johnson]: really good. It does have a

little earthy taste too. You know, if you put

 

328

00:15:51,470 –> 00:15:56,315

[Blake Johnson]: in too much, it will get some

more of that earthy taste. Not quite like a

 

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00:15:56,375 –> 00:15:57,296

[Blake Johnson]: beet, but

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Right.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: you know, you can, if you eat

it raw, you’ll taste that more than if you

 

332

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[Blake Johnson]: were just throwing a smoothie.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Sure. Okay, so how do most people

in America enjoy it today? I mean, obviously

 

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[Lori Taylor]: we’ve talked about smoothies,

but is it sold in the juice form so people

 

335

00:16:14,300 –> 00:16:19,822

[Lori Taylor]: can do like what the European

study proved? And how do people find aronia

 

336

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[Lori Taylor]: berries?

 

337

00:16:20,670 –> 00:16:24,213

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, you can find it in powder.

So we do have it in powders on Amazon. And

 

338

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[Blake Johnson]: what we focus primarily on

A3 is just B2B, so business to business. But

 

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[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

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[Blake Johnson]: there are some brands out there.

There’s a really great woman-owned brand on

 

341

00:16:32,240 –> 00:16:36,964

[Blake Johnson]: Minneapolis called So Good,

So You, and they do little shots. And

 

342

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[Lori Taylor]: Oh.

 

343

00:16:37,024 –> 00:16:41,428

[Blake Johnson]: so the shot, the skew, they’ve

got skews with functionality. And the one that

 

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[Blake Johnson]: they’ve used with Aronia is

grapefruit juice and Aronia juice, and it’s

 

345

00:16:45,952 –> 00:16:50,582

[Blake Johnson]: a beauty skew. And I believe

that’s for all the antioxidants, which are

 

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00:16:50,602 –> 00:16:54,154

[Blake Johnson]: great for skin and hair and

everything like that.

 

347

00:16:54,435 –> 00:16:54,595

[Lori Taylor]: Well,

 

348

00:16:54,595 –> 00:16:54,836

[Blake Johnson]: There’s

 

349

00:16:54,635 –> 00:16:55,615

[Lori Taylor]: and functionals,

 

350

00:16:54,856 –> 00:16:55,157

[Blake Johnson]: another.

 

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[Lori Taylor]: I mean, my goodness, like the

functional food space is just exploding as

 

352

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[Lori Taylor]: it relates to especially the

beverage category. But, um, gosh, so many components

 

353

00:17:06,264 –> 00:17:08,986

[Lori Taylor]: of the grocery store, you’re

starting to see functional foods kind of take

 

354

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[Lori Taylor]: a front seat, um, and become

part of not just the key messaging, but even

 

355

00:17:14,150 –> 00:17:15,050

[Lori Taylor]: the brand identity.

 

356

00:17:15,614 –> 00:17:19,561

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, well, and I think we

even see that up in Fargo where, you know,

 

357

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[Blake Johnson]: the Midwest hasn’t been known

for health and wellness. You know, it’s meat

 

358

00:17:22,319 –> 00:17:23,199

[Lori Taylor]: No.

 

359

00:17:22,407 –> 00:17:24,030

[Blake Johnson]: and potatoes. You get the horseshoe

 

360

00:17:23,679 –> 00:17:23,879

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

361

00:17:24,090 –> 00:17:25,273

[Blake Johnson]: states, count the coast,

 

362

00:17:24,939 –> 00:17:25,239

[Lori Taylor]: We get

 

363

00:17:25,313 –> 00:17:25,453

[Blake Johnson]: you

 

364

00:17:25,419 –> 00:17:25,539

[Lori Taylor]: all,

 

365

00:17:25,473 –> 00:17:25,553

[Blake Johnson]: know.

 

366

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[Lori Taylor]: we get all the, we’re a source

of all the jokes, right?

 

367

00:17:28,866 –> 00:17:29,030

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah.

 

368

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[Lori Taylor]: Um, I saw, I saw a great piece

on TikTok that said, taking an Indiana girl

 

369

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[Lori Taylor]: on a date and it like, versus

a California girl. And I mean, I have a lot

 

370

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[Lori Taylor]: of great friends in California,

but this is so funny. The California, the spoof

 

371

00:17:45,045 –> 00:17:47,886

[Lori Taylor]: on this, you know, so the comedian’s

like, okay, here’s the California girl. She

 

372

00:17:47,926 –> 00:17:51,981

[Lori Taylor]: orders a salad and a water and

Then the Indiana girl, it was like, I’ll take

 

373

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[Lori Taylor]: the loaded baked potato and a

beer.

 

374

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[Blake Johnson]: Oh, good.

 

375

00:18:00,387 –> 00:18:04,770

[Lori Taylor]: But so you’re so right. And it’s

like everyone, that is what the Midwest is

 

376

00:18:04,810 –> 00:18:10,335

[Lori Taylor]: known for when it comes to, you

know, how we eat. So the fact that a product

 

377

00:18:10,355 –> 00:18:17,360

[Lori Taylor]: like this can kind of break through

that. Um, and, and the Midwest can become,

 

378

00:18:18,121 –> 00:18:23,785

[Lori Taylor]: um, not just the tech test market,

but also like the launch pad for Ronia berries,

 

379

00:18:23,805 –> 00:18:24,926

[Lori Taylor]: I think says something,

 

380

00:18:25,046 –> 00:18:25,346

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah,

 

381

00:18:25,146 –> 00:18:25,366

[Lori Taylor]: right.

 

382

00:18:25,546 –> 00:18:31,031

[Blake Johnson]: yeah. No, it’s, I mean, it’s

taking hold here. We’ve got a great festival

 

383

00:18:31,071 –> 00:18:34,794

[Blake Johnson]: every fall called Aronia Fest,

and there’s three to 4,000 people that come,

 

384

00:18:35,054 –> 00:18:35,214

[Blake Johnson]: which

 

385

00:18:35,180 –> 00:18:35,261

[Lori Taylor]: Oh

 

386

00:18:35,274 –> 00:18:35,434

[Blake Johnson]: is

 

387

00:18:35,302 –> 00:18:36,012

[Lori Taylor]: my gosh.

 

388

00:18:35,714 –> 00:18:39,197

[Blake Johnson]: awesome. That’s September 10th

this year. It’s in a small town outside of

 

389

00:18:39,217 –> 00:18:43,601

[Blake Johnson]: Fargo, Arthur, North Dakota.

It’s about 30 miles out of Fargo, but yeah,

 

390

00:18:43,641 –> 00:18:47,864

[Blake Johnson]: it’s fun. It’s super fun. Live

music, and there’s vendors, and I’ve got two

 

391

00:18:47,884 –> 00:18:49,106

[Blake Johnson]: kids, and they love running

around.

 

392

00:18:49,751 –> 00:18:54,149

[Lori Taylor]: Lots of Aronia berry ingredients

in all the foods or

 

393

00:18:54,786 –> 00:18:55,426

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, there’s

 

394

00:18:55,194 –> 00:18:55,334

[Lori Taylor]: yeah.

 

395

00:18:56,247 –> 00:18:58,510

[Blake Johnson]: aronia like scones and jellies.

 

396

00:18:58,171 –> 00:18:58,396

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

397

00:18:58,890 –> 00:19:02,634

[Blake Johnson]: And I mean, you name it, they

try and put aronia in everything. There’s soap,

 

398

00:19:02,714 –> 00:19:04,296

[Blake Johnson]: aronia soap and… I hate it.

 

399

00:19:04,387 –> 00:19:08,088

[Lori Taylor]: Wow. Yeah. Well, it kind of reminds

me of like the Gilroy garlic festival. You

 

400

00:19:08,108 –> 00:19:12,569

[Lori Taylor]: know, they, they started doing

that years ago and, um, it w there was garlic

 

401

00:19:12,589 –> 00:19:17,930

[Lori Taylor]: and everything, even an ice cream,

you know? So, yeah. Um, very interesting. So

 

402

00:19:17,970 –> 00:19:22,512

[Lori Taylor]: September 10th folks, put that

on your calendar, head to Fargo and enjoy the

 

403

00:19:22,552 –> 00:19:28,593

[Lori Taylor]: Aronia Fest. I’ve never been,

I don’t know if I’ve been to North Dakota.

 

404

00:19:28,613 –> 00:19:30,994

[Lori Taylor]: I don’t think I have.

 

405

00:19:30,222 –> 00:19:30,723

[Blake Johnson]: It’s great.

 

406

00:19:31,054 –> 00:19:31,314

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

407

00:19:31,225 –> 00:19:34,797

[Blake Johnson]: It’s awesome. It’s amazing.

It’s a great place to do business too. I mean.

 

408

00:19:34,679 –> 00:19:38,507

[Lori Taylor]: Okay, well, I’ll put it on the

list. I think I’ve been to, I think I’ve only

 

409

00:19:38,527 –> 00:19:40,271

[Lori Taylor]: been to South Dakota.

 

410

00:19:39,634 –> 00:19:39,955

[Blake Johnson]: Okay,

 

411

00:19:40,431 –> 00:19:40,632

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

412

00:19:40,798 –> 00:19:43,065

[Blake Johnson]: I will hold that against you,

Lori. We’ll get some out there.

 

413

00:19:46,526 –> 00:19:51,089

[Blake Johnson]: There’s another product out

there that focuses on eronia just because of

 

414

00:19:51,169 –> 00:19:54,152

[Blake Johnson]: its gut health. It’s a prebiotic.

And then,

 

415

00:19:54,144 –> 00:19:54,247

[Lori Taylor]: Oh.

 

416

00:19:54,172 –> 00:20:03,819

[Blake Johnson]: you know, it increases intestinal

microbiota. And that company is called Gutbar.

 

417

00:20:04,260 –> 00:20:08,703

[Blake Johnson]: And everything they do is based

on gut health and using eronia to do that.

 

418

00:20:08,763 –> 00:20:10,685

[Blake Johnson]: So they’ve got shots, they’ve

got

 

419

00:20:10,455 –> 00:20:10,935

[Lori Taylor]: Really?

 

420

00:20:10,725 –> 00:20:11,405

[Blake Johnson]: barfers.

 

421

00:20:11,595 –> 00:20:15,738

[Lori Taylor]: So Aronia berry is the principal

ingredient in these gut

 

422

00:20:15,690 –> 00:20:15,911

[Blake Johnson]: Right.

 

423

00:20:15,778 –> 00:20:19,241

[Lori Taylor]: health remedies. Okay. Let’s

talk a little bit more about that because that

 

424

00:20:19,321 –> 00:20:23,744

[Lori Taylor]: is, that is like the overwhelming

resounding trend of not just this superfood

 

425

00:20:23,804 –> 00:20:27,807

[Lori Taylor]: mini series, but even going back

to our last theme here on the produce mom’s

 

426

00:20:27,827 –> 00:20:31,990

[Lori Taylor]: podcast, it was food as medicine,

and we talked about all the different stakeholders

 

427

00:20:32,030 –> 00:20:36,713

[Lori Taylor]: in that, in that national movement,

everyone was like, it’s all about gut health.

 

428

00:20:37,073 –> 00:20:43,315

[Lori Taylor]: That’s what, that’s what this

whole. movements about is because diet related

 

429

00:20:43,355 –> 00:20:48,181

[Lori Taylor]: disease begins and ends in the

gut. So tell us a little bit more about erronea

 

430

00:20:48,221 –> 00:20:49,222

[Lori Taylor]: berry and gut health.

 

431

00:20:50,702 –> 00:20:55,884

[Blake Johnson]: Uh, yeah. So it’s, it’s very

high in fiber, which I think really helps,

 

432

00:20:55,965 –> 00:20:56,245

[Blake Johnson]: right.

 

433

00:20:56,167 –> 00:20:56,377

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

434

00:20:56,465 –> 00:21:01,047

[Blake Johnson]: Um, to keep everything regulated

and then being, you know, an anti-inflammatory,

 

435

00:21:01,067 –> 00:21:04,269

[Blake Johnson]: there’s always inflammation

in the gut based on foods you eat.

 

436

00:21:04,904 –> 00:21:05,093

[Lori Taylor]: Right.

 

437

00:21:05,110 –> 00:21:08,111

[Blake Johnson]: Um, you know, if you take the

food sensitivity tests, you can see which is

 

438

00:21:08,151 –> 00:21:14,435

[Blake Johnson]: causing you inflammation and

intestine intestines with a gut. And so, yeah,

 

439

00:21:14,475 –> 00:21:20,746

[Blake Johnson]: they had a really, I believe,

um, the, the founder. I think she is actually

 

440

00:21:20,786 –> 00:21:22,887

[Blake Johnson]: a registered dietitian. So

 

441

00:21:22,983 –> 00:21:23,214

[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

442

00:21:23,107 –> 00:21:26,969

[Blake Johnson]: she did a lot of research on

eronia. And I think that a small eronia hobby

 

443

00:21:27,009 –> 00:21:31,111

[Blake Johnson]: farm and then saw the benefits

of eronia and that it’s, you know, prebiotic

 

444

00:21:31,171 –> 00:21:35,072

[Blake Johnson]: and everything. And they started

this company out of Colorado. They launched

 

445

00:21:35,112 –> 00:21:39,114

[Blake Johnson]: it about a year ago. And I

just received my first samples about three

 

446

00:21:39,154 –> 00:21:41,115

[Blake Johnson]: weeks ago and they are fantastic.

 

447

00:21:42,107 –> 00:21:43,689

[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

448

00:21:42,396 –> 00:21:43,856

[Blake Johnson]: Absolutely fantastic.

 

449

00:21:44,069 –> 00:21:44,289

[Lori Taylor]: What was

 

450

00:21:44,196 –> 00:21:44,537

[Blake Johnson]: And

 

451

00:21:44,329 –> 00:21:45,331

[Lori Taylor]: the name of the company again?

 

452

00:21:45,997 –> 00:21:46,517

[Blake Johnson]: gut bar.

 

453

00:21:47,253 –> 00:21:48,975

[Lori Taylor]: Gut Bar. All right, that’s

 

454

00:21:48,798 –> 00:21:53,881

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah.

 

455

00:21:49,015 –> 00:21:51,178

[Lori Taylor]: a brand name we’ll all remember.

Um.

 

456

00:21:54,041 –> 00:21:58,264

[Blake Johnson]: All right. And it stabilizes

blood glucose by about 42%. So

 

457

00:21:58,419 –> 00:21:58,750

[Lori Taylor]: How?

 

458

00:21:59,825 –> 00:22:04,368

[Blake Johnson]: yeah, so there’s, I mean, that,

that definitely helps anything to do with,

 

459

00:22:04,708 –> 00:22:06,169

[Blake Johnson]: with the body, the gut.

 

460

00:22:06,967 –> 00:22:11,272

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah, definitely. So I know you’re

biased, Blake. I mean, you grow this berry

 

461

00:22:11,312 –> 00:22:16,259

[Lori Taylor]: and you’re the CEO of the American

Aronia Accelerator. But do you think that there’s

 

462

00:22:16,279 –> 00:22:20,764

[Lori Taylor]: a healthier berry available?

Or a healthier

 

463

00:22:20,374 –> 00:22:20,841

[Blake Johnson]: You know I used

 

464

00:22:20,804 –> 00:22:21,165

[Lori Taylor]: berry

 

465

00:22:20,862 –> 00:22:20,943

[Blake Johnson]: to.

 

466

00:22:21,185 –> 00:22:22,306

[Lori Taylor]: that’s grown in America?

 

467

00:22:23,738 –> 00:22:28,040

[Blake Johnson]: Not in America, I wouldn’t

say. And the other reason why I think aronia

 

468

00:22:28,060 –> 00:22:33,003

[Blake Johnson]: is so healthy is because there’s

no natural pestered diseases. So right there,

 

469

00:22:33,043 –> 00:22:35,664

[Blake Johnson]: you can take away any pesticides.

You’re not spraying

 

470

00:22:35,643 –> 00:22:36,007

[Lori Taylor]: Really?

 

471

00:22:35,704 –> 00:22:39,766

[Blake Johnson]: any pesticides on it. You don’t

have to fertilize it. I haven’t fertilized

 

472

00:22:39,806 –> 00:22:47,591

[Blake Johnson]: mine in 10 years and I get

berries every year. Now maybe… Yeah.

 

473

00:22:43,143 –> 00:22:45,213

[Lori Taylor]: Well, shit, that’s why the farmers

like it so much.

 

474

00:22:47,611 –> 00:22:51,533

[Blake Johnson]: Maybe clearly increase yield,

maybe, I don’t know, potentially, but there’s

 

475

00:22:51,573 –> 00:22:53,486

[Blake Johnson]: no need. And… You know, we

 

476

00:22:53,423 –> 00:22:54,083

[Lori Taylor]: Wild.

 

477

00:22:53,547 –> 00:22:54,418

[Blake Johnson]: keep ours right in the…

 

478

00:22:54,783 –> 00:22:59,124

[Lori Taylor]: So that’s really rare. I mean,

it’s not rare if you’re growing it in a greenhouse.

 

479

00:22:59,144 –> 00:23:02,605

[Lori Taylor]: I mean, that’s kind of like the

big thing that everyone in greenhouse growing

 

480

00:23:02,665 –> 00:23:07,767

[Lori Taylor]: or controlled environment agriculture

loves to tout. You know, they can control the

 

481

00:23:07,807 –> 00:23:11,108

[Lori Taylor]: environment. So therefore there

is no need for any sort of crop protection,

 

482

00:23:11,228 –> 00:23:21,291

[Lori Taylor]: but for it to be growing outdoors

in a climate that, you know, has the… It’s

 

483

00:23:21,311 –> 00:23:24,994

[Lori Taylor]: a dynamic climate growing in

the Midwest. It’s not like it’s a subtropical

 

484

00:23:25,034 –> 00:23:31,921

[Lori Taylor]: climate every day. So how is

that the case? Is it just, it goes back to

 

485

00:23:31,961 –> 00:23:38,406

[Lori Taylor]: the heirloom variety of this?

I mean, I’m just confused. Is it, tell me more.

 

486

00:23:39,362 –> 00:23:43,243

[Blake Johnson]: So here’s what I, there’s some

things I do know and some things I don’t know.

 

487

00:23:43,363 –> 00:23:43,663

[Blake Johnson]: Why

 

488

00:23:43,482 –> 00:23:43,688

[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

489

00:23:44,344 –> 00:23:48,285

[Blake Johnson]: pests don’t take them, I have

no idea. I think it’s probably has to do with

 

490

00:23:48,585 –> 00:23:51,947

[Blake Johnson]: the defense mechanisms and

the leaves and everything. Cause I know, you

 

491

00:23:51,967 –> 00:23:55,228

[Blake Johnson]: know, deer will start chewing

on them. And then the first time they do it,

 

492

00:23:55,248 –> 00:23:59,250

[Blake Johnson]: they’ll stop because it gives

them an upset stomach to chew on the leaves.

 

493

00:23:59,350 –> 00:24:03,092

[Blake Johnson]: So they don’t touch them. The

berries, like I mentioned, are a little tart.

 

494

00:24:03,332 –> 00:24:08,590

[Blake Johnson]: So until that sugar content

or that Bricks content really ramps up. they

 

495

00:24:08,610 –> 00:24:12,791

[Blake Johnson]: won’t touch them. And usually

that would be probably four weeks after harvest.

 

496

00:24:12,951 –> 00:24:17,233

[Blake Johnson]: So we harvest around like a

15 bricks. They can get to like a 25, but by

 

497

00:24:17,273 –> 00:24:20,315

[Blake Johnson]: that time we’ve harvested them

already. So

 

498

00:24:20,679 –> 00:24:20,944

[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

499

00:24:20,935 –> 00:24:25,657

[Blake Johnson]: yeah, and then, I mean, we

keep ours in the middle of a CRP field, or

 

500

00:24:25,697 –> 00:24:30,019

[Blake Johnson]: conservation reserve program.

So it’s all tall grasses meant for wildlife

 

501

00:24:30,279 –> 00:24:30,587

[Lori Taylor]: Mm-hmm.

 

502

00:24:30,619 –> 00:24:34,261

[Blake Johnson]: and there’s deer and there’s

rabbits. And I mean, you name it, every bug

 

503

00:24:34,281 –> 00:24:38,754

[Blake Johnson]: critter is out there. And…

You know, in the winter, rabbits might chew

 

504

00:24:38,794 –> 00:24:42,115

[Blake Johnson]: it down a little bit, but that

just makes it bushier and makes the growth

 

505

00:24:42,175 –> 00:24:42,915

[Blake Johnson]: more vigorous.

 

506

00:24:42,418 –> 00:24:42,712

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

507

00:24:43,576 –> 00:24:50,358

[Blake Johnson]: So we don’t mind that at all.

And it’s a self pollinator, which is great.

 

508

00:24:50,398 –> 00:24:53,979

[Blake Johnson]: We have had though companies,

you know, bee guys come out and say,

 

509

00:24:53,914 –> 00:24:54,182

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

510

00:24:53,999 –> 00:24:58,480

[Blake Johnson]: Hey, can we put bee boxes out

here? Cause it produces a really clear honey

 

511

00:24:58,520 –> 00:25:00,761

[Blake Johnson]: because the flower is white.

 

512

00:25:01,177 –> 00:25:02,125

[Lori Taylor]: Wow, okay.

 

513

00:25:02,754 –> 00:25:05,976

[Blake Johnson]: The fun fact, I didn’t know

North Dakota is the number one honey producing

 

514

00:25:06,036 –> 00:25:07,097

[Blake Johnson]: state. So this guy was

 

515

00:25:06,963 –> 00:25:07,243

[Lori Taylor]: I didn’t

 

516

00:25:07,137 –> 00:25:07,377

[Blake Johnson]: telling

 

517

00:25:07,324 –> 00:25:07,544

[Lori Taylor]: either.

 

518

00:25:07,397 –> 00:25:07,617

[Blake Johnson]: me. I

 

519

00:25:07,604 –> 00:25:07,765

[Lori Taylor]: All

 

520

00:25:07,658 –> 00:25:12,381

[Blake Johnson]: didn’t

 

521

00:25:07,785 –> 00:25:10,995

[Lori Taylor]: these reasons to come to North

Dakota. I had no idea.

 

522

00:25:12,401 –> 00:25:15,524

[Blake Johnson]: know honey was different even

based off of what kind of blossoms. So.

 

523

00:25:16,207 –> 00:25:25,933

[Lori Taylor]: I did know that, but yeah, that’s

amazing. So I’m blown away. And as you’re describing

 

524

00:25:25,973 –> 00:25:31,816

[Lori Taylor]: this, there’s a lot of regenerative

agricultural properties within the erronea

 

525

00:25:31,856 –> 00:25:36,399

[Lori Taylor]: berry cultivation and standards,

you know, the growing process of erronea berries.

 

526

00:25:36,439 –> 00:25:41,001

[Lori Taylor]: It’s almost reminding me of an

episode I hosted, gosh, it’s probably been

 

527

00:25:41,141 –> 00:25:48,458

[Lori Taylor]: over a year ago now on… foraged

foods, like just, you know, we, and I interviewed,

 

528

00:25:48,478 –> 00:25:53,362

[Lori Taylor]: um, Hammond’s black walnuts and

it’s like, yeah, we just, you know, they just

 

529

00:25:53,382 –> 00:25:55,744

[Lori Taylor]: come back year after year. We

don’t really have to do a lot for them and

 

530

00:25:55,764 –> 00:25:59,988

[Lori Taylor]: they’re, they grow wild. And,

you know, I know that yours, this ronia berries

 

531

00:26:00,008 –> 00:26:03,971

[Lori Taylor]: aren’t necessarily a, a forage

food growing wild, but gosh, as you’re describing

 

532

00:26:04,011 –> 00:26:07,774

[Lori Taylor]: the process, I’m like, this reminds

me of foraged foods.

 

533

00:26:09,310 –> 00:26:15,433

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, and I mean, you can clip

off one of the weeds every summer, and you

 

534

00:26:15,453 –> 00:26:17,895

[Blake Johnson]: can populate another aronia

plant right from that. I

 

535

00:26:18,315 –> 00:26:18,577

[Lori Taylor]: Mm-hmm.

 

536

00:26:18,655 –> 00:26:21,977

[Blake Johnson]: mean, that’s how all ours were

done. They’re all a clone of each other.

 

537

00:26:22,287 –> 00:26:22,515

[Lori Taylor]: Right.

 

538

00:26:23,298 –> 00:26:30,142

[Blake Johnson]: And once you get to, I don’t

know, about 10 years, 15 years, basically when

 

539

00:26:30,162 –> 00:26:33,484

[Blake Johnson]: they’re probably about an inch

and a half, the canes are about an inch and

 

540

00:26:33,504 –> 00:26:37,010

[Blake Johnson]: a half, you just mow them down.

You just go and cut them all down. and then

 

541

00:26:37,031 –> 00:26:39,941

[Blake Johnson]: the next year they come up

again. That year you won’t have any fruit on

 

542

00:26:39,961 –> 00:26:42,069

[Blake Johnson]: them, but the following year

you’ll be back to full production.

 

543

00:26:42,555 –> 00:26:45,002

[Lori Taylor]: Wow, very interesting.

 

544

00:26:44,446 –> 00:26:47,609

[Blake Johnson]: And we need to get it going

in the U S because like I said, Europe does

 

545

00:26:47,809 –> 00:26:53,916

[Blake Johnson]: 55 million pounds a year. We

probably do two to three at most right now.

 

546

00:26:54,323 –> 00:26:54,449

[Lori Taylor]: Mm-hmm.

 

547

00:26:54,396 –> 00:26:58,280

[Blake Johnson]: And they’ve got over 400 products

and we’ve probably got 10.

 

548

00:26:59,279 –> 00:27:02,600

[Lori Taylor]: And when you say products, do

you mean like consumer products or do you mean

 

549

00:27:02,640 –> 00:27:03,301

[Lori Taylor]: varieties

 

550

00:27:02,754 –> 00:27:03,055

[Blake Johnson]: right.

 

551

00:27:03,521 –> 00:27:03,761

[Lori Taylor]: of

 

552

00:27:03,878 –> 00:27:04,260

[Blake Johnson]: Thanks for

 

553

00:27:04,161 –> 00:27:04,421

[Lori Taylor]: aronia

 

554

00:27:04,280 –> 00:27:04,641

[Blake Johnson]: watching.

 

555

00:27:04,441 –> 00:27:08,944

[Lori Taylor]: berries? Consumer products, okay.

So our consumer products, you mentioned the

 

556

00:27:08,984 –> 00:27:13,086

[Lori Taylor]: powder form is really popular.

We’ve already discussed there’s the juice or

 

557

00:27:13,166 –> 00:27:19,370

[Lori Taylor]: the individually quick frozen

berries that are then used as smoothies or

 

558

00:27:20,450 –> 00:27:26,574

[Lori Taylor]: an ingredient within like a broader

smoothie blend or berry blend. What are some

 

559

00:27:26,594 –> 00:27:30,002

[Lori Taylor]: of the other products that…

where erroneous berries can be encountered.

 

560

00:27:30,946 –> 00:27:33,148

[Blake Johnson]: We actually see it a lot in

Europe in cosmetics. I

 

561

00:27:34,048 –> 00:27:35,549

[Lori Taylor]: I can believe that. Yeah.

 

562

00:27:35,491 –> 00:27:39,415

[Blake Johnson]: really believe in cosmetics.

We’ve seen it used in wine

 

563

00:27:40,122 –> 00:27:40,369

[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

564

00:27:40,977 –> 00:27:44,461

[Blake Johnson]: as well. Stick packs, so on

the go, like ready to

 

565

00:27:44,403 –> 00:27:44,683

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

566

00:27:44,481 –> 00:27:44,721

[Blake Johnson]: drink

 

567

00:27:44,703 –> 00:27:44,864

[Lori Taylor]: Like

 

568

00:27:44,741 –> 00:27:44,981

[Blake Johnson]: stick

 

569

00:27:44,884 –> 00:27:45,625

[Lori Taylor]: hydration

 

570

00:27:45,021 –> 00:27:45,181

[Blake Johnson]: packs.

 

571

00:27:45,806 –> 00:27:46,968

[Lori Taylor]: type beverages,

 

572

00:27:47,646 –> 00:27:47,990

[Blake Johnson]: Right.

 

573

00:27:47,729 –> 00:27:48,210

[Lori Taylor]: especially with

 

574

00:27:48,071 –> 00:27:48,294

[Blake Johnson]: And then

 

575

00:27:48,251 –> 00:27:48,331

[Lori Taylor]: the

 

576

00:27:48,314 –> 00:27:48,354

[Blake Johnson]: we.

 

577

00:27:48,391 –> 00:27:54,002

[Lori Taylor]: fiber and all the, all the antioxidant

properties that it has.

 

578

00:27:55,002 –> 00:28:00,263

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah. And then, like, I’d really

like to see it in, like, an Acai bowl, you

 

579

00:28:00,283 –> 00:28:03,564

[Blake Johnson]: know, something like that with

aronia, because it’s four times the amount

 

580

00:28:03,605 –> 00:28:07,526

[Blake Johnson]: of antioxidant as acai or pomegranate

or blueberry. So

 

581

00:28:08,039 –> 00:28:08,347

[Lori Taylor]: Wow.

 

582

00:28:09,407 –> 00:28:12,368

[Blake Johnson]: the antioxidant content is

just off the charts compared to anything that’s

 

583

00:28:12,448 –> 00:28:16,409

[Blake Johnson]: out there. And, you know, you’re

not importing, you know, aronia from Brazil

 

584

00:28:16,449 –> 00:28:17,749

[Blake Johnson]: like you are for acai.

 

585

00:28:19,104 –> 00:28:20,757

[Lori Taylor]: Right, right. Gosh.

 

586

00:28:20,638 –> 00:28:25,490

[Blake Johnson]: And then we have, we’ve played

around with it with gummies, just like supplemental

 

587

00:28:25,234 –> 00:28:25,465

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

588

00:28:25,530 –> 00:28:28,417

[Blake Johnson]: gummies. My kids love them,

but we just haven’t

 

589

00:28:28,371 –> 00:28:28,851

[Lori Taylor]: Everyone

 

590

00:28:28,457 –> 00:28:28,778

[Blake Johnson]: taken them.

 

591

00:28:28,912 –> 00:28:32,098

[Lori Taylor]: loves them. Anyone who acts like

they don’t like a gummy bear is lying.

 

592

00:28:32,630 –> 00:28:32,893

[Blake Johnson]: Really?

 

593

00:28:36,767 –> 00:28:40,649

[Lori Taylor]: Or, you know, gummy vitamins.

I mean, look at how that, that industry has

 

594

00:28:40,709 –> 00:28:44,112

[Lori Taylor]: exploded, like to the point where

it’s like, do they even sell chewable vitamins?

 

595

00:28:44,132 –> 00:28:46,113

[Lori Taylor]: They’re all just gummies now,

you know?

 

596

00:28:46,559 –> 00:28:46,843

[Blake Johnson]: Right.

 

597

00:28:47,034 –> 00:28:55,180

[Lori Taylor]: Um, yeah, pretty cool. So I am

absolutely intrigued. I can’t wait to make

 

598

00:28:55,220 –> 00:29:00,584

[Lori Taylor]: the request when I buy my next

smoothie for an Aronia mix in. Um, but I also

 

599

00:29:00,624 –> 00:29:05,771

[Lori Taylor]: can’t wait to go to some of these,

you know, so good. So you. Gut bar, I’m sure

 

600

00:29:05,791 –> 00:29:10,034

[Lori Taylor]: there’s others, but those were

two that we mentioned today that folks can

 

601

00:29:10,074 –> 00:29:18,018

[Lori Taylor]: go to purchase Aronia berry products.

And hopefully as your footprint expands at

 

602

00:29:18,078 –> 00:29:22,681

[Lori Taylor]: the American Aronia Accelerator

and the other growers kind of join forces with

 

603

00:29:22,721 –> 00:29:26,603

[Lori Taylor]: what you’re doing, hopefully

we’ll be able to purchase them at the fresh

 

604

00:29:26,643 –> 00:29:32,146

[Lori Taylor]: market too. Like just buy them

in the produce departments. Yeah.

 

605

00:29:32,031 –> 00:29:32,699

[Blake Johnson]: That’s the goal.

 

606

00:29:33,947 –> 00:29:38,737

[Lori Taylor]: That’s amazing. So you mentioned

2 million, approximately 2 million pounds as

 

607

00:29:38,777 –> 00:29:43,889

[Lori Taylor]: the domestic yield right now.

How many acres does, does like your farm have

 

608

00:29:43,909 –> 00:29:44,610

[Lori Taylor]: for instance?

 

609

00:29:45,502 –> 00:29:51,973

[Blake Johnson]: So we’ve got 20 acres and we

could probably produce on that 150,000 pounds

 

610

00:29:52,333 –> 00:29:52,674

[Blake Johnson]: a year.

 

611

00:29:52,465 –> 00:29:52,675

[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

612

00:29:53,756 –> 00:29:54,617

[Blake Johnson]: So right in that area.

 

613

00:29:54,939 –> 00:29:59,488

[Lori Taylor]: Right. And so all the all the

growers collectively are able to bring to market

 

614

00:29:59,588 –> 00:30:02,414

[Lori Taylor]: approximately two million pounds

on an annual basis.

 

615

00:30:02,994 –> 00:30:07,535

[Blake Johnson]: Yeah, two to four depending

on, I mean, really in the last three years,

 

616

00:30:07,815 –> 00:30:10,936

[Blake Johnson]: because everyone’s kind of,

like I mentioned, the costs built up and they

 

617

00:30:10,976 –> 00:30:16,237

[Blake Johnson]: flopped. There’s probably been

20 to 30% of the crop has been torn out

 

618

00:30:16,033 –> 00:30:16,439

[Lori Taylor]: Oh, okay.

 

619

00:30:16,277 –> 00:30:20,858

[Blake Johnson]: because there hasn’t been a

market. So that’s really why we jumped in and

 

620

00:30:20,878 –> 00:30:22,199

[Blake Johnson]: said, let’s get this going.

 

621

00:30:22,180 –> 00:30:22,422

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

622

00:30:22,219 –> 00:30:27,220

[Blake Johnson]: This is too good of a story.

It’s Midwest, especially when you look at the

 

623

00:30:27,280 –> 00:30:28,441

[Blake Johnson]: supply chain issues

 

624

00:30:29,575 –> 00:30:29,785

[Lori Taylor]: Yeah.

 

625

00:30:30,581 –> 00:30:34,509

[Blake Johnson]: during COVID that… There’s

a guaranteed supply chain right here.

 

626

00:30:35,439 –> 00:30:40,323

[Lori Taylor]: Right. Well, and empowering the

American farmer, like I could go on and on.

 

627

00:30:41,023 –> 00:30:41,484

[Lori Taylor]: Um, we’ll need a

 

628

00:30:41,474 –> 00:30:43,199

[Blake Johnson]: Right.

 

629

00:30:41,544 –> 00:30:45,827

[Lori Taylor]: dedicated episode for that topic,

but, um, we have a few in the archives folks,

 

630

00:30:45,947 –> 00:30:49,550

[Lori Taylor]: it’s a total soap box for me,

I’m not going to get started on it today, but

 

631

00:30:49,610 –> 00:30:53,554

[Lori Taylor]: I will say once again, that food

security is national security and we need to

 

632

00:30:53,594 –> 00:30:58,538

[Lori Taylor]: support our American farmers.

Um, all right. Well, Blake, this has been an

 

633

00:30:58,638 –> 00:31:01,541

[Lori Taylor]: absolutely enjoyable episode.

I feel like I’ve learned so much about erronea

 

634

00:31:01,601 –> 00:31:06,397

[Lori Taylor]: yet at the same time. I’m like

so much more to learn. I can’t wait to check

 

635

00:31:06,457 –> 00:31:10,541

[Lori Taylor]: out some of these retailers that

you mentioned and do a little online shopping

 

636

00:31:10,581 –> 00:31:15,946

[Lori Taylor]: and get some Aronia products

here in my household. But where can people

 

637

00:31:15,966 –> 00:31:20,390

[Lori Taylor]: go to learn more? Check out what

you’re doing at the American Aronia Accelerator,

 

638

00:31:20,530 –> 00:31:24,754

[Lori Taylor]: understand more about this fruit,

and then any closing remarks that you have.

 

639

00:31:26,018 –> 00:31:29,201

[Blake Johnson]: Sure, yeah, we’ve got a website.

It’s www.a3aronia.com.

 

640

00:31:32,765 –> 00:31:37,390

[Blake Johnson]: So that shows all of our B2B

products. I guess in closing, Laura, I was

 

641

00:31:37,450 –> 00:31:39,573

[Blake Johnson]: super excited to be on here

and just

 

642

00:31:39,695 –> 00:31:39,821

[Lori Taylor]: Well…

 

643

00:31:39,893 –> 00:31:43,457

[Blake Johnson]: absolutely ecstatic to be able

to speak with you. So this is fun, this is

 

644

00:31:43,477 –> 00:31:43,937

[Blake Johnson]: super fun.

 

645

00:31:44,519 –> 00:31:48,520

[Lori Taylor]: Thank you, Blake. It’s been a

blast and we’re going to stay in touch and

 

646

00:31:48,580 –> 00:31:51,361

[Lori Taylor]: I’m going to, I’m going to see

you soon in North Dakota. It sounds like a

 

647

00:31:51,401 –> 00:31:55,703

[Lori Taylor]: place I need to be, especially

during the Aronia fest. So not sure I can make

 

648

00:31:55,743 –> 00:31:57,884

[Lori Taylor]: it this year, but I’m probably

gonna put it on my calendar for next year.

 

649

00:31:57,924 –> 00:32:01,686

[Lori Taylor]: Okay.

 

650

00:31:59,950 –> 00:32:00,640

[Blake Johnson]: We look forward to it.

 

651

00:32:01,806 –> 00:32:05,187

[Lori Taylor]: Yes. So thank you so much for

being part of today’s show. Thank you all for

 

652

00:32:05,227 –> 00:32:09,149

[Lori Taylor]: tuning in. It’s been another

great episode of the produce moms podcast.

 

653

00:32:09,189 –> 00:32:13,270

[Lori Taylor]: Like I always say, you know,

rate reviews, subscribe, share with a friend.

 

654

00:32:13,819 –> 00:32:18,040

[Lori Taylor]: We’d love to have your support.

It does help us a lot, but you know what? With

 

655

00:32:18,080 –> 00:32:21,141

[Lori Taylor]: or without it, I’m gonna come

back next week with another great story from

 

656

00:32:21,241 –> 00:32:25,922

[Lori Taylor]: agriculture. So leave the review

or don’t. I’m still coming back and doing this

 

657

00:32:25,942 –> 00:32:31,944

[Lori Taylor]: thing next week, okay? All right,

talk to y’all soon. Don’t hang up.

 

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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