TLC’s Elderberry and More offers supplements to keep sniffles and sneezes at bay.

TLC’s Elderberry and More owner Valerie Gardner poses with the company’s namesake, her daughter, Tori, and her son Stephen in 2015.

 

 

By Jill Whitley | jill@newnan.com

As flu activity progresses rapidly through Georgia, one Coweta mom is on a mission to spread a little TLC. 

Once a week, Valerie Gardner makes the drive to a sterile, USDA-inspected co-op kitchen in Warm Springs, where she’s met by family, friends, and a truckload of fresh, organic elderberries. 

Gardner and her team add four additional ingredients– locally-sourced honey, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves– to create TLC’s Elderberry Syrup. 

TLC’s Elderberry and More isn’t just named for the loving care it aims to provide. Gardner named the business after her late daughter, Tori Lauren Clanton. “It’s Tor Bear’s kitchen those days,” Gardner says. “The rule is, if you’re gonna help, you have to share a story about her.” 

Gardner was motivated to begin making her syrup when, as co-owner of a market in Fayette county, customers began asking about the berries to prevent and relieve their cold and flu symptoms. 

Curious about the number of inquiries, she conducted her own research, then mixed up the initial batch of syrup when she couldn’t find a brand without chemical preservatives to treat her own symptoms:

“Elderberry syrup and gummies have been available at Walmart and Amazon for ages,” she said, “But you don’t know where they came from, and they’re full of added ingredients I don’t want to put in my body.”

She continues: “I certainly wouldn’t want to give them to my kid if there were a local, all-natural alternative. I thought maybe other people would feel the same way.”  

Gardner notes that most commercially available elderberry products have to contain preservatives to keep them shelf-stable. Many of them also use high-fructose corn syrup to mask the natural tartness of the elderberries. 

Although her products have to be refrigerated, Gardner says, the raw, local honey she uses as a preservative and sweetener is far healthier and just as effective. A 16-ounce bottle of liquid will keep for 90 days, and a package of gummies will keep for 30 days. 

“I do add more honey to the gummies,” Gardner confesses. “To make them just a bit sweeter for kids.” She notes that, because of the cinnamon and cloves, many customers tell her the syrup “tastes like Christmas.”

While the product is not recommended for infants because of the potential risks of raw honey, Gardner said TLC can use natural cane sugar as a substitute. 

Right now, TLC’s Elderberry and More offers pickup, shipping, and delivery throughout Coweta and surrounding counties. The complete line of syrup, gummies, and tea are also available at Blazin’ Tan on Sullivan Road, and Happy Life CBD Store on Jackson Street. 

After the first of the year, Gardner plans to add aronia berry to her product line. Eventually, she’d like a brick-and-mortar storefront stocked with organic pickles, relishes, chow-chow, and “all kinds of natural goodness”. 

But for right now, Gardner is happy to spread her TLC one family at a time as she makes her rounds, delivering products to individual households as fast as she can make them:

“We just want to empower families with a natural and effective option to fight colds, flu, and allergies.”

From now to December 31, TLC’s Elderberry and More is offering 20% off their holiday bundle packages. Check out the company’s Facebook page for more information.