Maine is recognized as one of the most healthful states in the country, 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, gathering and eating them in season and drying them for use in winter.
Early settlers cherished blueberries as a staple ingredient in foods and medications. The first cultivated highbush blueberries were transplanted from the wild. Highbush berries are larger, growing on bushes that are 4-8 feet tall, and are relatively simple to choose by hand. In the wild, they prefer wet, boggy habitats.
The wild blueberry holds a special place in Maine’s agricultural history, first being harvested commercially in the 1840s. Both wild and cultivated types are now thriving industries in the state; Maine produces 99% of all the blueberries in the country, which makes it the single largest producer of blueberries in the United States and the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world.
They thrive in the naturally acid, low-fertility soils; cool, moist sea air; and challenging winters; and, since they’re indigenous to Maine, are naturally resistant to many native pests. cost to remove bats from attic, Several varieties ripen at different times throughout the summer, and will often stay ripe right into early fall. 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 state’s economy to the tune of more than $75 million annually. Moreover, thanks to new understanding about the health and nutritional benefits of blueberries, there’s an increasing demand for both processed and fresh 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. One half cup of wild blueberries delivers as much antioxidant power as four servings of additional antioxidant fruits and vegetables. And there is more good news: that the FDA has concluded that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh and may even keep their nutritional value longer.”