What started as an experiment in keeping her children healthy has expanded into a booming business for Courtney Krehling. The Naples native and mother of four kids first caught on to elderberry in her ongoing quest to find natural ways to support good health.
Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, elderberries have been consumed for years as a way to boost a healthy immune system—supplements, gummies and drinks populate store shelves. Krehling started playing around with making a light, tangy elderberry syrup at home, then her hobby grew as she started making it for friends and family. Finally, she decided to take a leap into a business venture.
Naples Elderberry started last year, with Krehling selling at the Vanderbilt Farmers Market. Her first client, Neighborhood Organics, approached her about selling it on their shelves, then the product started to catch on through word of mouth and social media. She found a following among like-minded parents, to whom she’d hand-deliver bottles if they’re in the area. Naples Elderberry is now in about six stores locally, and Krehling is hoping to grow throughout the Naples area and possibly into Lee County.
She makes it all in a commercial kitchen, producing about 200 ounces per batch in a three-hour process of simmering the ingredients then bottling it all up. The recipe took some tinkering, but she’s settled on a mix of European-grown elderberries, cloves, cinnamon, ginger root and local honey. The best part: It’s good for you, but doesn’t taste like medicine.
“It was a lot of taste-testing trying to get the perfect recipe,” she says. “Thankfully, my kids are perfect taste-testers.”