The CurrantC™ Story
Why did Greg Quinn create CurrantC™?
When Greg Quinn and Carolyn Blackwood bought Walnut Grove Farm in 1999, located in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley, Greg wanted to find a crop that would be profitable enough to support the farm. Of course the words “farm” and “profit” are not often found in the same sentence. After some searching for that suitable crop, he stumbled upon the idea of currants. Quinn knew about currants from his restaurant days in Bavaria. Black Currants are very healthy, they contain the darkest pigmentation in nature. They’re packed with vitamin C, potassium, as well as iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and best of all, the flavor is unique and absolutely delicious. Since Congress outlawed them, Currants have remained off the radar of the American consciousness for almost 100 years. Armed with a horticultural background (20 years teaching at The New York Botanical Garden) Quinn did some research into the disease. He deduced that the science behind the ban was incomplete and outdated. There are now resistant and immune varieties. Quinn worked with Cornell University Cooperative Extension to obtain a grant to fund a feasibility study into the possibility of a Currant industry in the U.S. The conclusion was glowingly positive, not only for an industry of food products, but also to help family farms, many of which are hanging on by their financial fingernails.
Overturning the Ban
With these findings under his arm, Quinn began dialogs with many in the New York State Legislature (the law had been relegated to States jurisdiction in the 60’s during some federal legislative house cleaning). He was able to convince several States’ Senators to sponsor a bill to overturn the ban. The story captured the imagination of farmer and consumer alike. His efforts have been written about on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Associated Press and about 400 newspapers in several languages around the country as well as websites such as CBS Market Watch, CNN.com (with almost 17 million hits in one day). Since then Quinn and the Currant story has been recounted in numerous media outlets including a feature article in Reader’s Digest.
Creating the First Commercial Currant Farm in NY State
The next steps in the process were to develop both the source of supply and the market. With Walnut Grove Farm, Quinn has created the first commercial currant farm in the state and has established the only dedicated currant nursery in the country to propagate plants for other farmers to begin growing. He is breeding new cultivars to expand the U.S. gene pool. He has also established a management company to grow currants on the properties of non-farming landowners. Part of his strategy to help save some farms and open spaces is to convince people to purchase defunct farms and hire him to grow currants on the land thereby saving the farms from developers.
The CurrantC Product Line
Of course the success of the whole project is dependent on the market so Quinn created CurrantC which develops, and markets and sells Black Currant products. The benefits of currants combined with the incredibly delicious flavor of the CurrantC™ products have driven the sales. Extensive research has been conducted on the many benefits of Black Currants. The Scottish Crop Research Institute, after studying the 20 most popular fruits, crowned Black Currants the “Number 1 Super fruit” with its cache of anthocyanins, vitamins and minerals.
What’s in a Name?
Currants, Black Currants, Blackcurrants, Zante currants, there’s much confusion about what to call our favorite little berry here in the U.S. and around the world. So many questions. Are Currants and Black currants the same? Are Black Currants and Blackcurrants the same? Do Blackcurrants or Black Currants have anything to do with Zante currants? There’s also a lot of different stories about how this all came about, so as the official Currant website for all things “Currant” we’d like to set the record straight. Click here to learn about the history of black currant name.