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Maine Blueberry Industry Faces Another Potential Low Harvest

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
In this Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, photo, a worker pours wild blueberries into a tray at a farm in Union, Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's wild blueberry industry could be looking at another difficult summer, as the crop is projected to remain much smaller than just a few years ago. The Pine Tree State is America's sole commercial producer of the wild berries, which are smaller than the more ubiquitous cultivated blueberries often seen in grocery stores. Maine's crop exceeded 100 million pounds every year from 2014 to 2016 before plummeting to 50.4 million pounds last year.
Horticulturist David Yarborough, emeritus wild blueberry specialist with University of Maine, says a cold winter and wet and cold spring are likely to blame for the lower projections. He says the total harvest might again be only about 50 million pounds.
The state's wild blueberry industry is also struggling with Canadian competition and somewhat low prices to farmers.