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August 2, 2022

Maine businesses highlight wild blueberry harvest, products in 2nd annual celebration

blueberries on stem File photo / COURTESY, UNIVERSITY OF MAINE Heavy rain helped Maine's wild blueberry crops rebound in 2021.

As if you needed an excuse to eat wild blueberries, more than 50 Maine restaurants, farms and other businesses will throw open their gates to teach visitors how to grow, harvest and make food with the native fruit. The planned festivities are all part of Wild Blueberry Weekend, a statewide celebration in its second year.

Over a dozen farms, primarily scattered across the midcoast and Downeast regions, are hosting activities that include tours, hay wagon rides, musical performances, pie baking, and picking or raking a harvest of your own.

Maine restaurants will offer special-edition meals and beverages or highlight existing menu items that prominently feature the wild blueberry. Brickyard Hollow, with numerous outposts but originally based in Yarmouth, will feature a blueberry pizza for the weekend. Helen’s Restaurant will be cooking up salmon with wild blueberry glaze at its two locations, in Ellsworth and Machias.

Numerous wineries, breweries and distilleries will have brand-new and tried-and-true available at their bars, such as a wild blueberry vodka from Split Rock Distilling in Newcastle and a blueberry cream ale from Ambition Brewing in Wilton.

A full list of participating businesses can be found here.

If this year’s harvest is anything like last year’s, participating businesses will have plenty of products to offer guests.

The 2021 wild blueberry harvest was much more bountiful than the yield in 2020, according to a May fact sheet from the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although Maine growers only harvested around 300 more acres in 2021 than in 2020, records show more than double the amount of harvested wild blueberries year-over-year.

Maine produces almost all of the country’s wild blueberries, according to a July proclamation issued by Gov. Janet Mills setting this year’s celebration for Aug. 6-7. In her declaration, she noted that the companies that grow and sell wild blueberries and related products “are significant contributors to Maine’s economy and are vital to Maine’s rural communities.”

A bipartisan resolution passed by the U.S. Senate last year highlighted the $4.7 billion annual economic impact of blueberries across the country.

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