Wild for Blueberries
Maine is home to a plant called Vaccinium angustifolium. It’s also referred to as the “lowbush blueberry” but best known as the wild blueberry. Whatever term you choose, you’ll definitely call them delicious. The wild blueberry is the official state fruit of Maine. And why wouldn’t it be? These tasty little gems, known for their exceptionally sweet flavor, are native to Maine. And in a big way. Maine produces 99% of all the wild blueberries in the country, making our state the single-largest overall producer of blueberries in the United States. Wild blueberries can be found in a 44,000-acre area that stretches from Maine’s Downeast Coast to the southwest corner of the state.
But it’s not as if they just grow on trees. They grow on bushes, just as nature intended. Being a native plant, they’re naturally adapted to Maine’s unique soil and seasons. Add some sun and rain and they’re good to go. Wild blueberries are smaller than the “high bush” or cultivated variety and are universally described as having a more intense and sweeter taste. Why? Maine just happens to have the right environment and the right conditions. And all that rightness is what gives them their distinct taste and texture. Wild blueberry bushes are not planted. As a crop they are simply maintained and tended. The berries grow to fruition in a two-year cycle. So growers like to have half their crop in the “growing phase” each year, with the other half primed for harvesting which begins in August.
Maine Blueberry Festivals
That’s also the time that the state rolls out the blue carpet to honor these local celebrities at numerous festivals. You can even come and harvest your own little crop at wild blueberry farms throughout the state. So come and get a taste of the wild blueberry yourself – as fresh as nature can make them. And who knows? There might even be a place for you at the pie-eating contest.
To learn more about Maine's blueberry festivals, click here.