Maine blueberry growers energized by sales to schools
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s wild blueberry industry wants to boost demand — and school programs are becoming a bright spot.
The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine said federal statistics indicate sales through the Blueberry School Foodservice Program grew 57 percent this year.
Maine wild blueberries are now being served up in schools in at least 36 states.
Blueberry commission Executive Director Nancy McBrady said the industry is “energized” by school sales, which grew from nearly 1.1 million pounds in 2016 to nearly 2.8 million pounds in 2017.
The industry has been struggling in recent years because of low prices caused by an overabundance of berries. This season, the harvest dropped below 100 million pounds for the first time in four years because of dry conditions and because some farmers scaled back their efforts.