Wild Blueberry Crop Upgraded to Average

ELLSWORTH — Maine’s wild blueberry crop has been upgraded to average or slightly above thanks to the late summer rainfall that plumped up the fruit, according to blueberry experts.

Maine has 60,000 acres of wild blueberries and the direct and indirect economic impact of the industry in the state is $250 million.

“They still have another week or so of harvest left and the crop is looking very good,” David Yarborough, blueberry specialist for the University of Maine extension service, said Aug. 30. “The fruit size is coming up very large.”

“The harvest on most of the fields looks average to better than average,” he said.

The yield from Maine’s wild blueberry crop was 83 million pounds in 2010 with a five-year high of 90 million pounds in 2008. The five-year average is 82.5 million pounds.

Yarborough said he was upgrading the expected yield to about 80 to 85 million pounds.

Ragnar Kamp, general manager of blueberry grower Cherryfield Foods, said, “My guess would be that it is near the five-year average.”

Yarborough said most of the blueberries come off the blueberry barrens in northern Maine and growers may be harvesting until after Labor Day.

He said there is some fruit drop because the fruit yet to be harvested on the low growing bushes is very ripe.

However, cool night temperatures are helping to keep the fruit firm, he said.

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Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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