Wild Maine Blueberries
DownEast Acadia is famous for its “lowbush blueberry” better known as the wild blueberry.
The wild blueberry is the official state fruit of Maine, and most certainly the folks of DownEast Acadia are “wild” for these blue gems. The region leads the way in making Maine the single-largest overall producer of blueberries in the United States.
Wild blueberries are a native plant that has grown in Downeast Maine for over a millenium, and are naturally adapted to Maine’s sandy soil and fleeting seasons. Add some sun and rain, and they’re good to go. Wild blueberries are smaller than the “high bush” or cultivated variety and are universally described as having a more intense and sweeter taste. This flavor makes them perfect for raking and eating them fresh right off the bush.
Wild blueberries have long been a part of our local diet and the seasonal culture that exists here. The annual harvest has attracted migrant workers from Maine, Canada, and way beyond for a very long time. During harvest season, there are endless opportunities to enjoy this delightful fruit; visit a farmers’ market to pick up a few pints, grab a just picked quart at a roadside stand, or take some time on a cool summer morning to create an unforgettable memory by finding a pick-your-own place.
Once you have your berries, savor their sweet and just a little bit tart flavor in pies and pancakes. Preserve them in syrups and jams. Combine them into mustards and salad dressings and micro-brews, or cover them with chocolate and pop them in your mouth handfuls at a time. There are countless ways to incorporate wild Maine blueberries into your cooking, so be adventurous and create some original flavor combinations.
Discover, learn, Celebrate
Every summer, Machias and Blue Hill put on festivals to celebrate this famous little fruit, with everything from pancake breakfasts to pie-eating contests. Come Downeast during Maine Wild Blueberry Weekend and visit a local farm, where you can learn about wild blueberries from the farmer’s themselves. Some farms offer pick-your-own experiences, or you can pick up a pint at a self-serve farm stand or local market. Then pick yourself up a copy of Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, who summered with his family every year on Little Deer Isle.
Visit the Wild Blueberry Heritage Center to learn about the unique ecosystem and cultural history of the Maine wild blueberry. The Heritage Center is devoted to preserving and sharing the incredible story and history of the Maine Wild Lowbush Blueberry and its farmers. The Center’s educational programs and interactive exhibits provide a deeper understanding of the history, science, and culture of Maine’s 10,000 year old wild blueberry ecosystem. Hear the stories of our wild blueberry culture directly from the farmers, families, and communities that keep wild lowbush blueberry farming alive.
True Maine Fall Foliage
During late September and early October, many visitors flock to Maine for the brilliant golds and red colors of our fall foliage. The colors of the wild blueberry barrens across DownEast Acadia are just as unique and perhaps even more captivating. After the wild blueberry harvest is completed, the leaves of the bushes will soon turn to a dark crimson color, then explode into remarkable hues of red and purple as the fall progresses. Miles upon miles of blueberry barrens appear to be carpeted by these colors as you drive along the byways and backroads.
One of the best routes to take it all in is the Bold Coast National Scenic Byway and the Epping Baseline Road. Some of the more important communities that support this agricultural gem include Cherryfield and Columbia Falls. In fact, Cherryfield is the home of Wyman’s which along with the other producers in the region grow the world’s entire wild blueberry crop.
To help you plan your trip we provide information on drive time and distances to and around the region. Plus info on other commercial transportation options.
Once you arrive in DownEast Acadia, you will want to access local sources of visitor information, state laws, recreation rules, and road conditions.
To help you pack or plan your day, check out the current weather in the region or learn about year-round averages of temperature and precipitation.