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Experts Expect Small, Flavorful Maine Blueberry Harvest

Robert F. Bukaty
/
Associated Press
In this Aug. 7, 2017 photo a girl holds a handful of wild blueberries picked near Sherman, Maine.

Maine’s wild blueberry crop is likely to be much smaller this year than in recent summers because the industry is contending with troubles such too much rain, wind and cold in the spring, too little rain later on, disease and poor pollination.

David Yarborough, blueberry specialist with UMaine Cooperative Extension, says while the number of berries is pretty good, they are very small this year.

“We were expecting a little bit better crop than we’re getting. We’re thinking now that maybe the crop is around 65 million pounds, and this is in comparison to the last 3 years, which we’ve had over 100 million,” he says.

Yarborough says the quality of the fruit is quite good, in terms of sugar content and flavor.

“Quality is quite good. The bricks, the sugars, are much higher and the flavors are very good. So we’ll have good berries this year, we just won’t have as much as we usually do,” he says.

A glut of blueberries from Maine and Canada has contributed to a decline in revenue for Maine growers. Yarborough says this year’s smaller harvest in Maine could help a bit in reducing the surplus and bring prices up. But he says a lot depends on harvests in Canada of both wild and cultivated blueberries.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.