Responsible for more than 90 percent of the nation’s blueberry crop, Washington County is the world’s largest producer of the popular berry. The glacially formed “barrens,” vast rolling plains of sandy soil, are perfect for raising the wild, low-bush variety. Therefore the growing, harvesting and processing of the blueberry is a major industry in Washington County. Nearly a quarter million acres of barrens yield an average of 30 million pounds of blueberries annually, all of which are canned within the county.
- Blueberry Hill Farm: As the only university-based wild blueberry research facility in the nation, the development done at the farm, together with on-campus research on new blueberry products and health benefits, have been a driving factor in the recent expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry industry.
- Wild Blueberry Land: Perhaps at the top of the “best backdrop for a selfie list,” as you drive up Route 1 towards the Machias Bay region, you’ll see a huge blueberry – building, that is (pictured below). Wild Blueberry Land is a bakery and gift shop that sells all things that have to do with — you guessed it — blueberries.
- The Wild Blueberry Festival: You won’t want to miss the Down East event of the year, held annually in August – the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival. Fun fact: The Down East region produces nearly 85% of the world’s blueberries. The residents of the area are proud of that fact and it shows. There’s no lack of exciting events for everyone at this event – a Main Street parade, blueberry farm tours, magic shows, fabulous food, fireworks, crafts and fine art by regional artists, live music and, of course the blueberry pie-eating contest!
- Go Visit a Blueberry Barren (Autumn and Winter): Following the harvest of the tiny blue delectables every year offers an even more beautiful site for those who venture out to Washington County to see the blueberry barrens: they becomes a stark, wild, almost surreal blue and then rick red, as seasons fold from late summer into deep winter. To reach the barrens by car, take Route 193 out of Cherryfield or off the Airline in Beddington and go to Deblois. Or swing north off Route 1 in Harrington, Columbia Falls or Jonesboro. There are also big stretches of barrens alongside Route 9 in Wesley and Crawford.