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May 12, 2022

Maine's blueberry harvest reaped big gains in 2021

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

Doing even better than initial projections last fall, Maine’s blueberry industry harvested 105 million pounds of the crop for utilized production in 2021, new data show.

The 2021 wild blueberry harvest was initially projected to total 85 million to 90 million pounds.

The official total of 105 million pounds is up significantly from 2020, according to Pam Hird, state statistician of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

The total tops the previous high, in 2016, of 101.8 million pounds.

Maine growers harvested 21,000 acres, up 1% from the previous year. 

The average yield was 5,000 pounds per acre, a 118% increase of 2,710 pounds from the 2020 yield. 

Of the total utilized production, 1.05 million pounds were for the fresh market and 104 million pounds were for processing. The value of the crop totaled $80.3 million, up significantly from the previous season, with an average annual price of 76.6 cents per pound. 

Growers experienced significant precipitation during the summer. In early June, the wild blueberry crop was reported as 50% good to 50% excellent. Growers reported record yields following the previous season's drought conditions. 

Wild, or "low bush," blueberries are smaller than cultivated berries and are sourced in the U.S. primarily from Downeast Maine. However, the state competes with Canada in production.

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