Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Amanda Beal, along with blueberry growers and processors, business owners, and enthusiasts from across Maine, gathered at the Blaine House in Augusta to celebrate the harvest of one of Maine’s signature crops on July 27.
Wild Blueberry Weekend is set for August 5-6. Those who take part will be able to explore wild blueberry farms located in Franklin, Lincoln, Kennebec, Knox, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo, and Washington Counties, as well as the Wild Blueberry Heritage Center in Columbia Falls. Some farms plan to open their doors to sell wild blueberries directly, while others will host a range of activities and tours. Additionally, dozens of Maine businesses will serve food and beverages made with wild blueberries during the weekend.
“I am proud to declare the third annual Wild Blueberry Weekend in Maine,” said Governor Mills, who has issued a proclamation and toasted the occasion. “I encourage everyone to visit one of the participating wild blueberry farms or to sample Maine-grown wild blueberry products at the many restaurants, ice cream shops, breweries, wineries, and distilleries selling them during Wild Blueberry Weekend. I know you’ll love it.”
“We take great pride in supporting this tradition of Wild Blueberry Weekend and urge Maine’s residents to venture out to the participating farms to taste and purchase berries and products while learning from growers and food producers,” said Commissioner Beal.
Wild blueberries, which are not planted but grow naturally, have grown in Maine’s barrens for more than 10,000 years. They were first harvested by the Wabanaki and are now grown by 485 Maine farms on 42,000 acres, within nine counties. Maine produces nearly 100 percent of all wild blueberries in the United States. Last year, Maine farmers harvested 77.5 million pounds of wild blueberries.
The event featured several wild blueberry products, from pickled blueberries to chocolate blueberry truffles to cobbler to blueberry spirits, as well as fresh wild blueberries.
Wild blueberries can be enjoyed fresh during summer in Maine, while Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) technology allows consumers to buy berries frozen at the peak of freshness year-round.
For a full list of participating wild blueberry farms and businesses, and a map to outline your itinerary, visit www.wildblueberryweekend.com. If you participate in Wild Blueberry Weekend, make sure to use the hashtag #WildBlueberryWeekend. If you’re curious about the health benefits, origin of, and ways to enjoy wild blueberries, visit www.wildblueberries.com for research, recipes, and more.
Real Maine is the state’s official agriculture and agritourism promotions program. From blueberry pie to blueberry wine to blueberry ice cream, plan your Real Maine summer agricultural experience. Visit www.realmaine.com to connect to farms, food, and agriculture throughout Maine.