With Maine’s blueberry season just around the corner, Governor Janet Mills declared August 7-8, 2021 as Maine’s first annual Wild Blueberry Weekend.
The Governor made the announcement during a celebration at the Blaine House today, where she was joined by a diverse group of wild blueberry growers and processors, Patricia Kontur of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine, and Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The event featured a tasting of a number of wild blueberry-themed products, as well as fresh wild blueberries that are being harvested now. Last year, Maine farmers harvested nearly 60 million pounds of wild blueberries.
“I am proud to declare the first annual Wild Blueberry Weekend in Maine to honor the importance of Maine’s wild blueberries and the hardworking Maine people who grow and bring them to market,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I encourage everyone to visit one of the participating wild blueberry farms or to sample Maine-grown wild blueberry products at the many restaurants, inns, breweries, wineries, ice cream shops, and distilleries selling them during Wild Blueberry Weekend.”
“We want Mainers and visitors alike to experience the authentic, vibrant, and distinctly Maine culture of wild blueberry farming,” said Patricia Kontur, Director of Programs, The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. “We’re excited to launch this first ever, Maine Wild Blueberry Weekend today with Governor Mills, and hope to make it a tradition that Mainers and tourists look forward to each year.”
Governor Mills with Maine Wild Blueberry Vendors
Wild Blueberry Weekend will feature farm tours and other family-friendly activities at 15 wild blueberry farms located in Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Piscataquis, and Washington counties. Additionally, wild blueberry-themed menu items and products will be available throughout the weekend at more than 50 statewide restaurants, inns, breweries, wineries, ice cream shops, and distilleries. To see the full list of participants, visit www.wildblueberryweekend.com.
“Both Mainers and visitors will have the chance to learn that wild blueberries are distinctly different than ordinary blueberries, and have a rich, cultural history, said Lisa Hanscom owner of Welch Farm in Roque Bluffs and chair of the Wild Blueberry Weekend grower committee. “Wild blueberries are grown and harvested in a way that is truly unique to our Maine coastal landscape.”
Mainers and visitors can plan their family’s weekend itinerary by browsing the Wild Blueberry Weekend map that highlights more than 50 participating statewide restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries and eating establishments planning to highlight wild blueberry-themed menu items descriptions of local farms and businesses, visit www.wildblueberryweekend.com
The text of the Governor’s proclamation declaring the first Wild Blueberry Weekend is as follows:
WHEREAS, wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) emerged on the rocky, acidic soils of the Barrens of Maine following the retreat of the glaciers more than 10,000 years ago; and
WHEREAS, wild blueberries, which are not planted but grow naturally, were first managed and harvested by the Wabanaki and are now grown by 485 Maine farms on 38,660 acres, primarily within Washington, Hancock, Knox, and Waldo counties; and
WHEREAS, Maine produces nearly 100 percent of all wild blueberries in the United States, and they are one of the top three specialty crops produced in the state; and
WHEREAS, Maine’s wild blueberry growers and businesses are significant contributors to Maine’s economy and are vital assets to Maine’s rural communities; and
WHEREAS, wild blueberries can be enjoyed fresh during the height of summer in Maine, while Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) technology allows consumers to buy berries frozen at the peak of freshness all year round, all over the world; and
WHEREAS, Maine wild blueberries are one of the world’s top 10 superfoods, a deep purple fruit that is rich in antioxidants and health benefits; and
WHEREAS, wild blueberries are recognized as Maine's official State berry and blueberry pie is recognized as the official State dessert; and
WHEREAS, this year the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine is launching Maine’s first annual Wild Blueberry Weekend to encourage residents and visitors to explore blueberry farms and participating establishments and eat, drink, and experience the sea of blue in August before the barrens turn a deep red in the fall;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that I, Janet T. Mills, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim the weekend of August 7th and 8th, 2021 as
Wild Blueberry Weekend
in Maine, and I encourage all people to recognize the vital contributions made by the State’s wild blueberry growers and businesses to our economy, and to participate in activities that celebrate and honor the wild Maine blueberry.