ELLSWORTH — The federal government is stepping in to help Maine wild blueberry growers who are expecting lower prices this year because of a bumper crop and competition from the cultivated blueberry market.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is buying up to $16 million in blueberries, which will be used for various food distribution programs.
The Maine Wild Blueberry Commission approached the department about the purchase, seeking to take advantage of this year’s bumper crop before prices to the growers decrease.
In addition to school breakfast and lunch programs, among the food programs that may be supplied with blueberries by the USDA are the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.
The USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.