Wild About Blueberries!

Do you LOVE Wild Maine Blueberries?
It’s backbreaking work harvesting them from late July through early September, but how sweet they are!

The Wild Maine Blueberry has been the state berry since 1991 and blueberry pie was added as the official Maine state dessert in 2011, not to be confused with the beloved Maine state treat, the  Whoopie Pie! So why not combine the two? Treat yourself and order some Wild Maine Blueberry Whoopie Pies from Bar Harbor Jam!

Using a special close-tined rake on hilly and rocky terrain, blueberry growers still harvest low-bush blueberries by hand. The rake was designed over 100 years ago by Abijah Tabbutt, a Downeaster, and has changed very little in that time.  Some blueberry harvesting has become mechanical, but these low-bush delicacies usually grow on terrain that favors harvesting by hand. It’s back breaking work as you can see in the video below, but the taste of the wild berries surpasses any cultivated blueberries you may have eaten.

The video below show the process of separating the leaves and stems for the berries themselves.

You can get pints and quarts of Wild Maine blueberries at roadside stands between Bath and Wiscasset nearly every day in season as well as at farmer’s markets and farm stands that carry local produce. Eat them by the handful. Put them on your cereal or in your smoothies. Eat them with yogurt. Make a Wild Maine blueberry pie, blueberry crisp or cobbler, or wild blueberry jam. Try them in muffins, pancakes, or scones. Freeze them so you can enjoy them in the middle of winter. This Overnight Blueberry French Toast would be INCREDIBLE with wild Maine blueberries!  The possibilities are endless! You might even buy a blueberry rake as a souvenir.

If you want the authentic experience of raking your own low-bush Downeast blueberries, give it a go at Beddington Ridge Farm in Beddington, Maine. You can also order wild blueberry jam from their Etsy Shop.

To learn more about Maine’s Wild Blueberry crop, visit the University of Maine’s Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro, the only university-based wild blueberry research facility in the nation. Research and development at the farm, along with on-campus research on new blueberry products and health benefits have had a direct impact on the wild blueberry expansion in the Pine Tree State. For more information go to UMO’s Cooperative Extension: Maine Wild Blueberries.

While in Maine, pick up a copy of the Maine Caldecott Winner Blueberries for SalThe Wild Blueberry e-Book, or Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Recipes and Stories from Summers on the Coast of Maine to enjoy for years to come.

For those of you who prefer to sip your blueberries, try some of Sea Dog Brewery’s Wild Blueberry Ale or for wine lovers try Wild Maine Blueberry Sparkling Wine, “Bluet” made in a barn cellar at Damariscotta Lake Farm. A serving tip from their website:

Apéritif or Cocktail

A chilled glass of Bluet makes a fine dry apéritif on its own but as the foundation of a sparkling cocktail, Bluet has an affinity for a variety of ingredients. Try Bluet with a splash of triple sec over crushed ice and a sprig of mint, or give it an old-fashioned treatment with rye whiskey, simple syrup and bitters. If you can get your hands on some mead, pour over ice, squash a lemon and float Bluet on top for a perfect peak-of-summer drink.”

Cheers! Enjoy Wild Maine Blueberries in an infinite number of ways . . . only limited by your own imagination!

 

featured photo from Allagash Brewing Flickr page