Blueberries from Maine

Blueberries Fruit Food Berries Blue OrganiMaine is recognized as one of the most healthful states in the nation, and perhaps it has the blueberry, Maine’s official state berry, to thank in large part. Native Americans valued wild blueberries for their nutritional and healing qualities long before European settlers arrived in North America; they encouraged their growth, eating and gathering them in season and drying them for use in winter.
Early settlers also cherished blueberries as a staple ingredient in foods and medicines. The first cultivated highbush blueberries were transplanted in the wild. Highbush berries are larger, growing on bushes that are 4-8 feet tall, and are relatively easy to pick by hand. In the wild, they prefer wet, boggy habitats. The wild lowbush blueberry is usually harvested using a blueberry rake, which was devised by a Mainer, Abijah Tabbut, in 1822.
The wild blueberry holds a special place in Maine’s agricultural background, first being harvested commercially from the 1840s. Both wild and cultivated types are now thriving industries in the country; Maine produces 99% of all the blueberries in the country, which makes it the single largest producer of blueberries in the USA and the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world.
In the U.S., wild Maine blueberries are unique to a 60,000-acre area, growing naturally in areas and barrens across eastern Maine. They flourish in the naturally acid, low-fertility lands; cool, moist sea air; and challenging winters; and, because they are indigenous to Maine, are naturally resistant to a lot of native pests. Several varieties ripen at different times during the summer, and will often stay ripe into early autumn. Wild blueberries require minimal management and are sweet and irresistibly delicious.
Today blueberries are one of Maine’s most important agricultural plants, which makes a contribution to the country’s economy to the tune of over $75 million annually. Moreover, because of new knowledge about the health and nutritional advantages of blueberries, there’s a growing demand for both fresh and processed wild blueberries in the U.S. and abroad.
According to Allen’s Wild Maine Blueberries,”For great taste and antioxidant power, there’s no better option than a daily dose of wild blueberries. 1 half cup of wild blueberries delivers as much antioxidant power as four servings of other antioxidant fruits and vegetables. And there’s more good news: the FDA has concluded that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh and may even keep their nutritional value longer.”

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