A Happy Maine Walk on the Wild Side - Wild Blueberry Harvest Season

Following a recent trip to Bar Harbor, Maine we decided to head Downeast into the Wild Blueberry barrens to see Maine 's state fruit during harvest season. This was not a dog focused adventure but since we were on our way to the true Quietside of Acadia, Schoodic Peninsula, - a tail-waggers paradise - it made perfect sense.

Once You Go Wild, You Never Go Back.

So just incase you don 't know the difference between wild blueberries and the fatter cultivated blueberries - here 's the scoop. Wild Blueberries are a lowbush plant and have been thriving for 10,000 years in the acidic glacial soils of Maine, Quebec and Eastern Canada. Unlike the cultivated blueberries which are planted in rows and grow on highbushes, the wild blueberries can 't be productively replanted as their root structure has to develop naturally. As their name suggests, wild blueberries is a naturally occurring wild species that has been nurtured by generations of landowners who clear the land and help them spread. Culinary connoisseurs seek-out wild blueberries for their intense sweet and tangy flavor. The little berries stay whole when you cook with them; perfect for discerning Chefs and berry pies. On the happyME health front, the smaller berry means more berries per serving and more skin - the skin is where the antioxidants and other healthy nutrients are found.

August is the key season for harvesting in Downeast Maine. As we drove through the Wild Blueberry barrens, the thousands of acres of wild blueberries made for a beautiful landscape scene; a buzz with harvesters. The majority of the harvest is frozen within 24 hours for enjoyment year round but nothing like plucking one straight from the bush.

Approximately 220 million pounds are typically harvested every year from Canada and Maine but of course it depends on what Mother Nature serves up for the season. Over 50% of the wild fruit are harvested by mechanical harvesters but there is still the romantic view of hand-rakers dotted in the fields accessing the rockier and less accessible fields.

Hand-rakers gather the wild blueberries from the less accessible rocky barrens.

Field bin of wild blues - ready to be transported to the local processing plant.

Once the wild blueberries reach the local processing plants they are washed, sorted, frozen fresh and shipped far and wide to be enjoyed as sort after ingredients or right out of the freezer. Each bag of wild blueberries can be traced back to the field where they were born and the locally owned processing plants return the leaves and berry by-products back to the fields as a natural compost for future wild blueberry harvests.

As we head over to Schoodic, after our Maine Culinary Orienteering adventure, I was happy to know that we would be enjoying locally harvested wild blueberries on the menus of the nearby inns, cafes and restaurants. Toasting our state fruit the Maine wild blueberry. I 'll share our Acadia National Park Schoodic Peninsula adventure in my next happy Maine blog - definitely a destination you need to put on your dog friendly Maine bucket list.

Toasting Maine 's state fruit the Wild Blueberry