NEW WINTER HOURS EEFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1 -- We are open by appointment only during the winter so please call ahead at 319-217-0276. Unless we are travelling or busy with something else, we can usually open up for tastings and sales during the week or weekend.
Welcome to East Grove Farms! Home of the "world famous" East Grove Elderberry, Elderflower, and Bumbleberry Meads and the new elderberry selection named East Grove which is gaining in popularity for its vigorous growth and large cymes. So far it is doing quite well among other midwest selections in U of Missouri's Advancing the American Elderberry Project. We began our elderberry farm in 2010, preparing ground for the first planting in the spring of 2011. We currently have 12 acres in elderberries, having cut back on acreage to become more manageable for our workforce. We also have a 2 acre vineyard, and about 2 acres of Aronia berries, and about 60 fruit trees.
We've undergone a number of changes this year including raising the ABV of session meads (Bumbleberry, Sunshower, Elderberry, and Johnny Apple Mead) to 7%. The remaining lineup remains at 10% ABV although we have dropped a couple of products like White Pyment and Whiskey Town. While we have dropped a couple of products, we have gained 5 new products which is our new line of wines, not to be confused with our mead.
You are welcome to purchase a bottle of mead or wine and take it out to the picnic tables around the farm and enjoy a hand crafted beverage.
Introducing East Grove's new line of wines, all made from our own grapes and elderberries. Available only at the farm for now.
Visiting the farm: Our winter hours starting November 1 are by appointment only, during the week or weekend. Unless we're traveling, we are usually working somewhere on the farm and can open up for customers. We offer farm tours when the weather is good and the paths are passable. Call Joel at 319-217-0276 or Steph at 319-795-0620
We are one of three meaderies in Iowa, establishing East Grove Farms as an LLC in 2011. We specialize in using our own home grown fruit from our vineyard, caneyards, and orchards. Some of our nursery stock originated from the farm in the 19th century.
We are located at 1878 335th St., Salem, IA 52649. We are one mile east of the Avenue of the Saints (Hwy 27/218) half way between Mt Pleasant and Donnellson at Mile Marker 32.
THE FARM IS RICH IN HISTORY- This 19th century country Victorian farm house built by O.A. & Emma Garretson serves as a residence and headquarters for the farm peration. This house is on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and Garretson's role in the preservation of Iowa history. O.A.'s numerous articles on local Iowa history were published in the Iowa Journal of History & Politics and The Palimpsest. His well known article "Travelling on the Underground Railroad" is a top read for UG RR researchers.
During Iowa's Sesquicentennial celebration in 1996, the Garretson farm was named Iowa's Oldest Continuously settled farm, established in June of 1837 by Joel C. Garretson. Joel was a stock raiser, minister, orator, inventor, and a station master on the Underground Railroad and the farm was a key stop for freedom seekers on the route between Salem, New Garden, and Denmark. Missouri slave owners had a price on his head of $500.
Joel's father Isaac is buried back in the timber in the East Grove Cemetery. He was a government land surveyor and received patents for a nail cutting machine, a means of rigging the sails around the hull of a ship to prevent it from sinking during an attack, and one for using steam, wind, and water to power machinery. The three patents were signed by George Washington, John Adam, and John Quincy Adams. We are working with the U.S Patent Office in providing them copies of these patents and their schedules which their copies were destroyed in the patent office fire in 1836.
East Grove was an abolitionist community on the Underground Railroad route between Salem, New Garden, and Denmark.
East Grove Cemetery is one of Henry County's pioneer cemeteries established in 1839. Isaac Garretson 1765-1844 is one of the burials. His sons Joel and Harvey settled the farm June 1837. Pictured here is the Henry Co Pioneer Cemetery Commission.
We grow several alternative crops like heirloom green gage plums, white peaches, apples, and persimmons, but we specialize in elderberries and aronia berries. The Green Gage plums have been growing on the farm for about 150 years or more. Letters discovered in the attic between family members in the 19th century describe the plum, peach, and apple harvests.
East Grove's manufacturing facility
The Pilot Grove #6 one room country school was moved to East Grove Farms in 2021 with restoration expected be completed by May 2023. The original bell, blackboard,and a few pre-1870 desks are on display with other rural school artifacts. It is open to the public and just one of the many surprises you will find at East Grove Farms.
Over the years we've had lots of musical guests! Here's a short list: Calin Wilson, Nella Thomas and Will Locker, The Nearly Great Horned Owls, Bob Anderson, Clyde Burchard, The Burnt Grass Band, Randy Wilson, Dyno and the Road Kill Orchestra, Steve Prottsman, Rob McCuen, Dyno and the Roadkill Orchestra, The Kay Brothers, The Burney Sisters, The River Kittens, Grass Fed Mule, Flash in a Pan, Mercer & Johnson, Dave Zollo, Barroom Billies, Eric Pettit Lion, Travis Reid, Will Whitmore, Brutal Republic, Katie Belle and Belle Rangers, Whiskey Friends, The June Bugs, Ned Francis, Chaz and the Channel Cats, Society of Broken Souls, Adam Bruce, Meredith Musgrove Shaw, Rena Mackey, Suzanne Overberg. Country Unlimited, Jake McVey, The Creek Rocks, Amanda Day, Bob Dorr Blue Band, Bluezillion, Awful Purdies, Nikki Lunden Trotter & Natural Habits .
Bob Dorr and band have performed frequently at East Grove's restored 1880's barn.
Check out the selection of East Grove Mead at New Pioneer Co-op in Cedar Rapids! They have virtually everything that we offer at the farm. If you are in the Cedar Rapids area you don't have far to go to enjoy a bottle of our mead. New Pioneer in Coralville has a good selection of mead as well.