The recent Associated Press article reprinted in the Portland Press Herald, “Wild blueberry crop may be about to make a comeback in Maine” (Jan. 6), was welcome news with a few important missing footnotes.

As Maine’s growers know, and as your local reporting has made clear over the last year, the reality of “modest harvest” sizes (which caused rising market prices) falls disproportionately on the many small growers most struggling to survive. As Staff Writer Mary Pols reported back in September, one of the reasons for the drop in supply is that these small growers are folding, letting their fields go fallow or harvesting only enough for fresh pack.

For those of us who work to add value to wild blueberries, the long-term solution lies in more products where the uniqueness of wild blueberries can truly shine. The locavore movement has boosted awareness of sourcing and fruit identity that has the potential to benefit Maine’s small growers, if those growers had more options for buyers.

Elsewhere in the country, we’ve seen wine and cider have powerful market effects for many kinds of grapes and apples. There’s so much more that can be done with wild blueberries that would help both stabilize prices and help small growers in particular. Our state’s extraordinary food and beverage talent – along with supportive consumers of value-added products – have important roles to play in the future of wild blueberry prices and the survival of Maine’s small growers.

Eric Martin and Michael Terrien

Bluet Wild Blueberry Sparkling Wine