With Blueberries In Trouble, Maine Eyes Commission Overhaul

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine lawmakers might try to pump some life into the state’s troubled wild blueberry industry by overhauling the makeup of the commission that promotes the state’s most important fruit crop.

Maine is America’s sole significant commercial producer of wild blueberries. These are smaller than the ubiquitous cultivated blueberries and are used in lots of frozen and processed products. The industry is weathering a difficult time, as harvesters collected about 57 million pounds of the fruit in 2018, down nearly 11 million pounds from the previous year. Prices have been lukewarm, too.

A legislative committee is considering a bill to expand the number of people who sit on the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine, which is tasked with coordinating promotion, education, policy, research and development of the fruit. The proposal could also help the commission represent a broader cross section of the state’s wild blueberry industry, supporters said.

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