frequently asked questions
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Q. Where do Lycoberry come from?
A: The GENERIC fruit goes by many names. Autumnberries. Autumn Olive berries. Aki Gumi. Deer Fruit. Elaeagnus Umbellata. Asiatic Olleaster. Japanese Silverberry.
It grows wild in many places. India. China. Japan. And more recently, here in North America. On the hills of Appalachia. On fallow farmland of the Midwest. Along the roadsides of New England.
In their native lands, these berries are prized as an ancient source of food and medicine. Here in their new home, they are more often treated as a nuisance.
At Lycoberry, we believe in using the treasures the earth gives us. And in treating the earth kindly in return. That’s why we harvest respectfully from the wild.
Q. Where does Lycoberry source its berries?
A: All our berries are wild harvested in the United States. Lycoberry is creating an innovative model for commercializing a wild crop by building a network of local foragers, people who have been passionate advocates for this plant for a long time. They know and respect the land and believe in using the gifts that nature gives us.
The founders of Lycoberry get to know the harvesters personally. They visit the land they are picking and inspect the thickets so they can feel confident that they are delivering the highest quality, most pristine fruit possible. Lycoberry crops never come from roadsides or any other site that could harbor potential contaminants. And of course, Mother Nature always farms organic even if she’s not certified!
Research suggests that the time of harvest and post-harvest handling have a significant impact on the lycopene content of the berries. All of our foragers follow our strict harvest protocol that maximizes nutrient content.
Q. What about the invasive species problem?
A: Elaeagnus Umbellata was first introduced into North America in 1830 as an ornamental plant. Much later it was planted extensively by government agencies to control erosion and renew depleted land. Its ability to establish in poor soil conditions made it ideal for these projects but also helped it to proliferate, and it is now classified as an ‘invasive species’ in several states.
The spread of non-native species is considered a threat to native eco-systems, and today many government agencies and conservation groups are responding with chemical eradication strategies. Many academic ecologists, though, agree that these plants are here to stay and the best approach is to learn to get along with them.
By picking the berries, we are helping to stop the spread. Birds, deer, and other animals love these berries as much as we do. Unfortunately, they’re not as finnicky as we are about where they deposit the seeds, and new plants get started. If we get our hands on them first, the seeds will be contained.
We love the idea of turning a “weed” into a valuable crop. It is a much healthier, more sustainable solution than flooding the earth with the noxious chemicals used to kill them.
Q. How much Lycopene should I have in my diet?
A: Researchers have not reached consensus about a recommended daily intake of Lycopene. But Edward Giovannucci, lycopene expert at Harvard, advises at least 10mg.
Q. Is it possible to get too much Lycopene?
A: Several studies have shown that as a practical matter lycopene toxicity is impossible. Additionally, Lycoberry sells only whole food products, not supplements.