We’re all on board with plant power these days. But in 2007, when Jeni and Daniel Dover abandoned their conventional lives to start farming, they were on their own. The co-owners of Darby Farms first turned to nature because Daniel was desperate to find healing for his chronic fatigue, depression, and liver issues. A few years of eating real, nutrient-dense food—grown and raised on their own farm—transformed his health.
In 2011, Daniel came down with the flu— inconvenient for a farmer who needed to be out caring for fields and animals at sunup. Again, Jeni leaned on nature and made elderberry syrup, an old-time wellness tradition that provides immune support. Daniel recovered from the illness quickly and the rest of the family stayed surprisingly flu-free. Elderberry syrup became one of the Dover family’s most essential tools for staying healthy—so much so that years later, Jeni decided to share the elderberry goodness with friends and neighbors. The outsize demand for their elderberry syrup shocked the Dovers and, ultimately, rerouted the direction of their farm to Union Mills, North Carolina.
Since 2017, Darby Farms has produced about 80,000 bottles of elderberry syrup sold across the country. Their FDA-inspected tonic is made from elderberries grown on their farm, along with organic and wild-crafted ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and raw honey. There is still no cure for the common cold, but elderberry syrup has been proven to reduce the symptoms and duration of colds and viruses. Low in sugar and packed with ingredients that support the immune system, Darby Farms elderberry syrup became so popular it paved the way for other wellness products, including elderberry extract, children’s elderberry syrup, and respiratory syrup for lung health.
The Dovers practice silvopasture, an ancient way of farming that integrates livestock with plants and trees and can help mitigate the effects of climate change. Looking down the road, Darby Farms is planting more medicinal and food-producing plants and trees to craft more healing products. “When we first started farming this way, I had family members laugh in my face. They’re not laughing now—they think it’s quite successful,” Daniel says.
You can find Darby Farms elderberry syrup and other wellness products at Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery, 205 Cedar Lane Rd, Greenville, or Bellews Market, 240 Garner Rd, Spartanburg. For more information, visit darbyfarmswellness.com.