While the global health crisis seems to be coming to an end, the supply chain issues, lingering health problems, and changes to our economy and society will be long lasting. We're still here, growing, making, packing, and shipping your Elderberry Apple Shots nearly every day.
The US elderberry harvest in 2020 was limited, and so fresh-frozen, USA grown elderberries are in short supply for 2021. This is the reason you are seeing a few dollars increase on your Elderberry Apple Shots -- along with the fact that in May 2020, we sold out of our 'transitional' berries (the least expensive ones). All Fat Stone Farm Shots are now made with Certified Organic Elderberries.
The elderberries we use for Elderberry Apple Shots grow in the summer and are harvested in the fall. Once every year and that's it! You can't make elderberries grow in the winter or spring. Dried elderberries are usually available year-round and from many countries around the world, but we don't use dried elderberries, nor do we use imported ones. We don't have anything against other countries, we just don't know what they "do" to the berries prior to and during the drying, concentrating, or extracting process. We've heard some crazy stories! (Like the elderberry concentrates are made primarily for dying and the Europeans laugh at us for drinking it -- maybe rumor, maybe true). We are also reading about adulterated and "fake" elderberry products more and more. And -- this is important -- we don't want to add WATER as an ingredient. That is a sure sign that an elderberry product is made from dried elderberries or concentrated elderberries.
The most impactful change for 2021 is about some of the companies we do business with to bring you all our products. They are experiencing employment challenges and supply chain shortages after months of global shut-downs and disruptions. Managers are trying to pick up the pieces, but many are stressed and stretched. The word "pivot" comes up very often here at the farm, and it does get exhausting after many months of "pivoting". I work very hard at customer service but I've made a few mistakes recently and I thank you for your understanding.
The best way forward is to keep moving, and so we continue to make investments in our food safety, quality, and packaging processes -- and new products like Elderberry Soap!
Bill and I appreciate your loyalty and look forward to supplying you with the most minimally-processed-elderberry-per-serving Elderberry Apple Shots for years to come.