The Wealth of Maine_ Wild Blueberries

Since I started talking about thewealth of Maine, I have to talk about Maine’s blueberries.  

First I want to say is blueberries areawesome.  I’m the type of person who’sinto natural food, and when I found out we had wild blueberries in the neighborhood,I was overjoyed.  It’s because the promising health benefits of wild blueberries include Anti-aging, cancerprevention, heart and vision health, and they’re not like Chinese bitter herbs;they taste great!  They are so good thatI’m actually thinking about purchasing a blueberry field.  

Maine has 60,000 acres of wildblueberries grow naturally in fields and barrens that stretch along the Down eastcoast to the state’s southwest corner.  Adapted to Maine’s naturally acid,low fertility soils and challenging winters, wild blueberries are a low inputcrop requiring minimal management.  [1]

In 2007, directand indirect economic impact of the wild blueberry industry in Maine totaled$250 million, so wild blueberries make a major contribution to Maine’s economy.What’s more, thanks to new research on the health and nutritional benefits ofblueberries, there is a growing demand for both fresh and processed wildblueberries in the U.S. and abroad. [2] FromIceland to Japan, consumer demand is sky high as information on the health andnutrition benefits of blueberries is received and understood. The blueberryindustry has experienced explosive growth in the export markets, and newproducts are proliferating.  

I saw a report recently that China had precededJapan and Germany and became the biggest importer of wild blueberries fromFinland.  In 2010, Finland exported total4.4 million kilograms of wild blueberries, among which 3.1 million kilograms went toChina.  Currently, Finland can’t meet thedemand due to the shortage of supply.  Personally, I see this as a great opportunityfor our Maine wild blueberries. 

Though we all hate to admit it, but the factof cancer rate nowadays is scary, so people are searching for the natural anti-cancerproducts.  Wild blueberries fit right inthe line.  I was told that blueberrieswere sold at $18 a pound in Japan.  Well,I never attest that myself, but it could be true because of the radiation afterthe disastrous earthquake.   

Wildblueberries are not available everywhere, and Maine is so fortunately blessedwith abundant.  I certainly wish thiswould bring more opportunities to Maine economy.