Blushing Blueberry Barrens

Cherryfield, Maine is the self-proclaimed “Blueberry Capital of the World!”

Located in Washington County, Cherryfield wasn’t always known for wild blueberries, though. It was named for the cherries that once grew along the river banks. The smaller blueberry barrens can be seen along the roadside, but you need to go off the beaten path to get the full effect! Blueberry season runs from July to mid-September and raking these low-bush favorites is back-breaking work! Wild blueberries are not cultivated by planting seeds, but by the natural phenomenon of bees pollinating them as they gather nectar from flowers.  The wild Maine variety contains twice the antioxidants and twice the fiber as the cultivated high-bush counterpart and can be enjoyed in pies, muffins, cookies, scones and smoothies, or as blueberry syrup . . . to name a few!

Travel up Rte. 1 to Rte. 193 where you will pass the Field & Farm Headquarters of the Jasper Wyman & Sons Blueberry Operation. A few miles up the road, continue onto the Baseline Road on your right.  It’s a dusty, gravel road which will take you to thousands of acres of blueberry barrens all the way to Pineo Ridge. You can stop to take photos and enjoy the view as long as you don’t head into private fields, off the public road. This takes you to the Ridge Road and back to Rte. 1.  We did see a No Trespassing sign before the Ridge Road and weren’t sure if it included the Baseline Road so we turned around and back-tracked. We didn’t want to try to convince a judge that Siri told us to go that way! It was not quite peak, but the color was beautiful!

Only about half of the blueberries are harvested each year. Then they are either mowed or burned to stimulate growth. Even once cut back, the stems are still red and can give a light coating of snow on the fields a pink glow, but that is a trip for another time.

Once back on Rte. 1 we stopped at Wild Blueberry Land for an oatmeal blueberry cookie, a piece of blueberry pie for the road and some wonderful blueberry syrup to last through the winter! Having my blueberry pie to enjoy later in Lubec, I opted for a cup of chowdah and a piece of raspberry pie at Helen’s in Machias. You can’t eat a whole meal if you want to save room for their mile high pie!

Add this to your bucket list. It’s really quite a sight to see!