More answers to frequently asked questions:
Q: Is there a way to get your berries other than having to spend $100 to $150 per shipment?
A: Yes, but you’d have to come to the Blue Hill peninsula on the coast of Maine to pick them up. If you can’t do that, then I would suggest thinking about what we typically spend $100 to $150 per month on, and perhaps changing buying patterns or prioritizing some purchases. Ask ourselves: should we get the berries instead of some other things at similar cost to us? For example, here are some typical modern conveniences/items/habits on which we can readily be spending $100 to $150 per month: daily coffee & donut/muffin at a bakery or store; after-work drinks or weekend bar tab; dinner and a movie; cigarettes (1/2 pack per day); cable tv or HD tv fees; EZ Pass or toll booth fees or taxi fares or subway tokens. Instead of any of those, you could have our frozen organic wild blueberries, or membership at a local gym or YMCA, or several good magazine subscriptions and library fees (I’m guilty of regularly having overdue library books, which is ok if you pay them off regularly!), or carpooling/walking/riding a bike….the gist of it is, let’s all vote with our dollars.
Q: Did you always want to be a wild blueberry farmer?
A: No, all I really remember as a kid, growing up in a small town in Vermont, was that I wanted to be a volunteer fireman. But it was hard to figure out how to make a career, let alone pay the mortgage and make car payments, as a volunteer fireman. So, I had to go to college and get a BA in Anthropology and Religion, and then realize I wanted to be a farmer. After apprenticing and working on many different farms over almost 10 years, I was trained and ready to be an organic vegetable farmer. That’s when my wife and I purchased our land in Penobscot, Maine, which had a few acres of open land for vegetables as well as about 20 acres of wild blueberries. And that’s how I became a wild blueberry farmer.
Q: Who invented the wild blueberry? Was it Willie Wonka?
A: Not exactly, though you may recall that he invented a chewing gum that tastes like a three-course dinner, which featured a blueberry dessert. One of the kids in the famous Chocolate Factory tour, Violet Beauregarde, greedily and foolishly takes the untested gum from Mr. Wonka and chomps on it; a mishap ensues where she somehow inadvertently turns into a giant blueberry. But the wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) is a native plant to the northeastern seaboard of North America —having originated, developed and evolved over the past 10,000 years or so since the last glacial period, an amazing feat that even the Oompa-Loompas would have found challenging.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Q: What’s your favorite song?
A: Everyday I Have the Blues by B.B.King
Q: Is there any reference or specific quote from Shakespeare about wild blueberries?
A: No, but I’ve gotten pretty good at making up fake ones, like this: “She doth induce in me both the passion and the colour of the wild berries” Spring Runs Eternal, Act I, Scene iv. Or, with general reference to all things wild, there is this one, which I made up and printed on the back label of our retail bags of frozen berries: “Whereas the furrow’d seed knows the sweetest complacency, ’tis the wind-borne seed that knows the greater urge to grow” The Tragedy of King George, Act II, Scene iii.
Here is my favorite, easiest, everyday way to have our frozen wild blueberries: At breakfast-time, I put about a cup of plain unsweetened yogurt (we make our own) in an empty Ball jar. I pour about a tablespoon of real maple syrup on top of that. I then pour about a cup of our frozen wild blueberries on top of that. I then pack that into my lunch bag (yes, I’ll admit, I’m the kinda guy who packs his own lunch for work). By lunchtime, the berries have thawed out to room temperature and look and taste like they were fresh. I eat this blueberry yogurt for dessert!
My wife often does something quite similar, with the addition of about a cup of granola along with the yogurt and maple syrup and blueberries —she also eats it right away, with the berries still frozen (which makes my teeth chatter…brrrrrrr!).