Maine State Foods
Blueberries, members of the Vaccinium family, are small, smooth-skinned, juicy, and sweet. They are among world’s few naturally blue foods. When cooked, they take on a deep purple color. This fruit is native to the United States. Different varieties grow in different regions, though all grow well in wooded areas with damp, acidic soil. Blueberry bushes can be up to 13 feet (4 m) tall. Blueberries are sold fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. Though fresh berries are popular in season—eaten plain, in fruit salad, or with ice cream or whipped cream—they are much more often cooked in pancakes or muffins, pies, jams, jellies, and sauces.
Maine's wild blueberries grow naturally in fields and uncultivated land from the state’s eastern corner to its southwest. The area's Native Americans used these berries for food as well as medicine. Commercial harvesting of Maine's blueberries started in the 1840s and now the state has nearly 60,000 acres of blueberries. Growers use the blueberries native to Maine, so these are a low-maintenance crop that's naturally resistant to most local pests. The berry is harvested in August, when dozens of blueberry festivals take place around the state.