Urbana, IL - When most people think of an invasive species, they think that the first thing that needs to be done is get rid of it. It is often the case when it comes to the Autumn Olive Tree. It is a tree that was first brought to Central Illinois back in the early 20th century. The tree was imported from Asia as a way to help build up areas that had been deforested. As the decades went on, the autumn olive tree was a bit too successful, and ended up overspreading many wooded areas.
Urbana resident Dustin Kelly was once among the majority of people who had never even considered trying autumn olives or autumn berries as a food. However, that all changed a few years back.
"I thought it must not taste good. If it has all these things and it’s not in the grocery store, then there must be something wrong with it. I tried it and it was very tasty." says Kelly.
After trying the berry, Kelly was inspired by an idea. He thought that rather than trying to beat the invasive species through drastic measures, it was simply best to eat the invasive species. That is when Kelly founded Autumn Berry Inspired, making everything from jams to chocolate fruit-leather out of the berries.
"I started to see that there was the potential for a host of products that utilize this resource that is not being used at all." Kelly says.
Today, Autumn Berry Inspired has expanded into a company that ships all across the nation. In that time, it has become a model for how invasive plants and animals can be controlled by turning them into a food source. For more information on Autumn Berry Inspired, log on to http://www.autumnberryinspired.com/