Like a lot of folk remedies, elderberries have found a second life during the resurgence of interest in natural medicines. Vitamin-rich, packed with antioxidants and with documented medicinal properties, elderberry products are popular among health-conscious consumers looking for nonpharmaceutical treatments for routine ailments.
Ann Lenhardt and her family’s business, Norm’s Farm, are on the leading edge of the elderberry trend. Norm’s Farm produces and markets elderberry products through a network of farms and production facilities throughout the US, and from a warehouse in a converted garage on Ann and Roger Lenhardt’s property near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They stay connected via satellite Internet with HughesNet for Business.
Ann uses HughesNet to run the company’s e-commerce operation and manage relationships with suppliers, sellers, and consumers. Reliable Internet service is essential to running Norm’s Farms, which utilizes digital communications to sell and market its elderberry extract, jam, and syrup to online customers.
“We use the Internet for everything – email, order fulfillment, marketing, negotiating with partners and investors. We sell directly to consumers through our website, and also through online markets like Amazon and eBay,” Ann said. “Currently we’re trying to get picked up by the Kroger chain, so we have to enter massive amounts of information into an online portal. Before HughesNet, we were using DSL, and we’d get kicked off as many as 16 times a day. HughesNet Business Internet keeps us connected reliably.”
The idea for Norm’s Farm arose around 2007 when Roger Lenhardt and his father Norm wanted to move the family farm in Missouri away from growing soybeans and corn and into a noncommodity crop. Consumption of elderberry products was on the rise, and Ann found research from the University of Missouri about their market potential. In the old days, many American homes would have an elderberry bush in the yard to provide fruit for medicinal elderberry wine and other elixirs. These days, 90% of the elderberries consumed in the US are imported from Europe. Ann saw an opportunity for domestic production.
The Lenhardts began growing elderberries on the family farm in Missouri, gradually expanding to other family farms across the Midwest. They manage production and marketing from the North Carolina home that Ann and Roger bought in 1995.
Like for a lot of people in America, over time the quality of their DSL eroded to the point where it was all but impossible to run the Online components of the business. HughesNet Business Internet enables them to reliably manage the Norm’s Farm network of farms, partners, and customers while enjoying the North Carolina country life.
HughesNet lets you live and work where you love and still stay connected. “It’s a wooded, hilly rural area 10 minutes from Chapel Hill and about 30 minutes from Raleigh,” Ann said. “There are a lot of country inns and five-star restaurants near us. We have great neighbors, we’re three hours from the mountains and two from the beach. HughesNet meets our communication needs and we are grateful to have it as an option.”