Hobby Farms

Latest Craze

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Our most promising and biggest side hustle that may well become a true family business is the elderberry. It all started when we added eight elders to our farm some six or so years ago, not with any particular purpose beyond self-sufficienc­y and biodiversi­ty.

Fast forward a few years: My daughter has begun making and selling elderberry syrup, which many people use as a natural medicine to help boost the immune system. (All our side hustles start as part of a homeschool project; each of our kids is required to have their own enterprise by the age of 8 that generates money to pay for things they want, from judo lessons to movies and more.)

Demand exploded over the past two years, and we are off to the races, not just trying to expand our own elder bushes but the entire operation. Now, I am hoping that elderberry isn’t going to follow a boom and bust cycle, though my hunch is that is probably going to happen to some degree in the coming decade. This is yet another important concern and word of caution: Look at the current popularity of CBD oils and hemp products. A hot market often creates a great deal of risk — and possible reward — for all parties involved. It can also result in quickly collapsing prices and profits.

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