Aronia Berries
Grown in America's Heartland

Coldbrook Farm is the largest aronia grower in the state of Illinois. We grow and market premium fruit, irrigated for milder flavor, processed in food safety audited facilities, and tested and documented. Call us with your applications questions and ingredient needs.



Wind Machine

Crete, Illinois (May10, 2018) – After two successive years of crop damage or loss caused by early bud breaks and late frosts, Midwestern fruit growers have learned that climate change is no friend.
John Pilcher, president of Coldbrook Farm Inc., researched different methods of combating late spring frosts. He then acquired an Orchard-Rite Wind Machine from Superior Wind Machine Service Inc., of Caledonia, Michigan, for his Momence Township aronia field in Kankakee County.
Pilcher observed, “This wind machine is excellent insurance for the life of the crop. It will protect the aronia when it’s most at risk.”
Horticulturist Matt Kallemeyn, who has used wind machines successfully, familiarized Pilcher with the operation at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Indiana. The farm’s orchard manager, Kallemeyn commented that Superior offers a turnkey solution, which provides security even for the non-mechanical.
Superior’s Lee DeLeeuw explained to Pilcher how to maximize coverage where the berries are hit the most by cold winds from the west and northwest. He thinks that Pilcher is the first aronia grower to install a wind machine.
For additional information, contact John Pilcher at or 708-227-2807, Matt Kallemeyn at 708-921-0803 or Lee DeLeeuw at 616-893-4507.
(Dr. Mildred Culp is communications director at Coldbrook Farm Inc. 2018 Passage Media.)


Crete, Illinois (February 1, 2017) – Canada’s premier horticultural event, the 2017 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention,  is hosting John Pilcher, President of Coldbrook Farm Inc, Crete, to speak at its specialty berry session on February 23, 2017. Organizers expect overall Convention attendance by approximately 2,000 growers, would-be growers, and technical and industry representatives at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The berry session will include Pilcher’s journey, “Aronia – Finding Higher Value,” in this emerging industry. Aronia (aronia melanocarpa), a high antioxidant pome fruit, is native to Canada and the United States.

Pilcher will discuss what he experienced and observed among other growers during the establishment of his farm, as commercial aronia growing began to take hold in the American Midwest.

In an unstructured industry, aronia offered a challenge for growers: how could they create higher value? He developed products for different market channels before uncovering higher value in surprising simplicity.

For further information, contact Pilcher at 708-227-2807 or


John Pilcher

Photo by James M. Theuri

Crete, Ill. (March 1, 2016) – Coldbrook Farm, Inc., in Crete, was recently featured in Midwest Wine Press. President John Pilcher explained how to evaluate an aronia crop for wine, other beverages and foods.

He identified points about irrigation (to assure a mild flavor), soil type and isolation from harmful spray drift. He also recommended mechanical harvesting for volume and food safety, and processing and frozen storage in an established food safety-audited facility. Midwest Wine Press is  the region’s sole outlet dedicated to news about winemaking and marketing in the heartland.

 In March’s Acres USA, Pilcher provided tips on pruning aronia berry bushes.


Crete, Ill. (March 12, 2015) - The high antioxidant aronia berry comes with a bonus – versatility. Combinations for the wide range of dishes are almost endless with frozen aronia from Coldbrook Farm Inc. in Crete. 

“We've uncovered an array,” says John E. Pilcher, President, “and we're continuing beyond the 26. Many of the fruits are also compatible with our dried sweetened product.” 

For further information, contact Pilcher at 708-227-2807 or


Crete, Ill. (October 6, 2014) - Aronia has gone mainstream. Beech-Nut, noting aronia’s antioxidants, has released a baby food with aronia in its 100 percent natural line. Check grocery shelves to find  Just Apple and Aronia Berry. This confirms the prediction earlier this year by Bell Flavors & Fragrances Inc. that aronia would be trending in 2014.

While demonstrating dried sweetened aronia berries in a store, Coldbrook Farm Inc. president John Pilcher watched a young father stop at the table with samples. “His toddler, a three-year-old sitting in the kiddie seat in the shopping cart,” Pilcher says, “reached for the sample in her chubby little hands and tossed it down the hatch.” Three girls under the age of 11 sampled with gusto at another demonstration. Their father bought a tub of berries without even tasting them.

Midwestern grown aronia berries aren’t just for babies, little girls and fathers. For additional information about trends in dried sweetened and frozen aronia, contact Pilcher at 708-227-2807 or


Crete, Ill. (September 9, 2014) - “How America Eats: Snacking Our Way through the Day,” a Hartman Group report published July 30, based on a survey of 1,790 adults finds that the heaviest snacking in the United States – 65 percent – occurs after lunch. FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2014, indicates that 43 percent of 1,059 shoppers believe their main store will contribute to their health and wellness. 

Chefs and food manufacturers can increase the healthiness of their products by incorporating aronia, America’s antioxidant berry, in their offerings. The antioxidant superiority of aronia berries makes them a natural for the snack ingredients market, according to John Pilcher, president of Coldbrook Farm Inc., Crete, Ill. It produces dried sweetened and frozen aronia berries.

Dried sweetened aronia berries, when paired with mozzarella cheese, create tasty, healthy snacks and appetizers, such as the easy CheezAronia Bites. Popcorn may be the next innovative pairing with aronia. 

For further information, contact Pilcher at 708-227-2807 or


Crete, Ill. (May 19, 2014) - The Food Marketing Institute will be debuting aronia, America’s antioxidant berry, on Wednesday and Thursday June 11 and 12, 2014, at Chicago’s McCormick Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Event planners expect 6,100 attendees (4,000 buyers and brokers, domestic and international). Among the exhibitors, Coldbrook Farm Inc. of Crete, Illinois, will introduce dried sweetened aronia berries in newly designed packaging and speak with interested parties about frozen aronia berries, as well. Both are offered for export. Samples of dried sweetened aronia berries, a healthy snack food, await visitors.

Irrigation makes Coldbrook Farm berries some of the mildest on the planet. In addition, irrigation assures a more uniform size than the non-irrigated counterparts. These healthy berries are North American grown and new to many buyers.

“They scored extremely high in antioxidants in the 2009 USDA ORAC Survey,” reports John Pilcher, president of Coldbrook Farm, “second only to black raspberries and way above blueberries and cranberries."


Crete, Ill. (May 5, 2014) - The versatility of high-antioxidant aronia berries, frozen or dried, is demonstrated by food manufacturers and chefs as they incorporate this dark purple fruit in baked goods, such as energy bars, breads and pies, and gourmet chocolates.

“The RazzyJazzy-Aronia Pie we’ve developed is a perfect example.” reports John Pilcher, president of Coldbrook Farm Inc. in Crete, Illinois. “Its blend of red raspberries with aronia berries creates an ambrosial, attractive way to end a meal. We've also developed recipes for dried sweetened aronia.

Aronia berries take on new flavors with apples, strawberries, peaches, oranges, cherries, red raspberries and pears. Irrigation imparts Coldbrook Farm aronia berries with a milder flavor than unirrigated berries.


Crete, Ill. (March 12, 2013) - Members of the Midwest Aronia Association will be convening for its annual conference April 4-6 in Des Moines, Iowa. The organization is national, with membership throughout North America. On Friday, April 5, agribusiness entrepreneur John E. Pilcher will be a featured speaker. He is president of Coldbrook Farm Inc.

Approximately 140 aronia growers and marketers are expected to hear "Our Natural Advantage," in which Pilcher will discuss how he backed into marketing, the role of entrepreneurs and innovators in the industry and the future of aronia.

For recipes both frozen and dried, click here

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