Wild Blueberry Newsletter March 2022

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

March 2022

Dear Growers, Processors, and Stakeholders,

Buds are swelling across the state! As we begin the season, keep an eye on our Phenology Tracker to watch fields develop in different regions and the Wild Blueberry Blog for mummy berry updates.

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2022 UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference. All of the recordings are posted. Please complete the conference evaluation to give us feedback on the event.

Winter Soil Moisture and Temperature

winter soil temperature


Winter Soil Water

Figure 1 & 2. The two graphs above show daily soil moisture and temperature readings that are averaged from weather stations in wild blueberry fields in Warren, Hope, Searsport, Ellsworth, Deblois, Montegail, Jonesboro, Crawford, and Marion township.

Looking for Farm Workers?

For small and medium-sized farms, ATTRA may be worth looking into. There are a few wild blueberry growers who use ATTRA and have had great success. To use it, go to ATTRA Internships and set up a profile. One grower explained, “We pay the $7 fee for access for one week to update our internship post usually in March or April.  We’ve had folks contact us anywhere from March through July, and we’ve typically hired at least 4-6 folks per year from this site.” Good Food Jobs was also noted as another site to post farm internships for farmworkers.

Comment on FSMA Ag Water Rules

The FDA has proposed a revision to the FSMA Ag Water Rules, which can be found here, FSMA Ag Water Rules. If you have questions, please reach out to Dr. Machado at UMaine Extension.

Upcoming Events

Registration is required for field meetings. Specific parking instructions are described on each registration page. Please contact Mary Michaud at mary.j.michaud@maine.edu or call 207.581.3175 for more information.

Organic Field Meeting

Blue Hill Berry Company, Nicholas Lindholm
Date: May 20, 2022 (Friday)
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The field behind 365 Rt 172, Surry. This field is behind the Surry General Store but do NOT park at the store. Park either in the field behind 365, which is a brown house OR across the street in a grassy field labeled for UMaine parking.

Organic management of spring pests will be discussed at one of Blue Hill Berry Co’s fields in Surry with Drs. Phil Fanning, Seanna Annis, and Lily Calderwood. Lily will also discuss new thoughts and research results on crop management practices.

Downeast IPM Field Meeting

Harmon Mountain Farm, Ethan Davis
Date: June 9, 2022 (Thursday)
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
2001 Northfield Road, Northfield

Harmon Mountain Farm is now under new management after the Antil’s retired. Join us to connect with each other and learn about pest and crop management with new energy!

Mid-Coast IPM and Mulch Field Meeting

Brodis Blueberries, Ron Howard
Date: June 14, 2022 (Tuesday)
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
87 Jones Hill Road, Hope (off of Rt. 235, cannot access via Appleton)

Join us at Brodis Blueberries to connect with other growers, learn about pest and crop management, and see a large-scale mulching in action.

Fresh Pack Line Meeting

Welch Farm, Lisa & Wayne Hanscom
Date: July 7, 2022 (Thursday)
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
186 Roque Bluffs Road, Roque Bluffs

Welch Farm invested in a new fresh pack line from the Maine Wild Blueberry Equipment Company in 2021 and Dr. Lily Calderwood has a cold storage demonstration at their farm. Come discuss fresh pack line improvements and berry quality with us!

Blueberry Hill Farm Field Day

Blueberry Hill Farm
Date: July 14, 2022 (Thursday)
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
1643 Rt.1, Jonesboro

This year’s big field day will feature a morning of IPM with UMaine researchers, burgers on the grill for lunch, followed by an exciting afternoon with the following sessions: Improved Harvesters, Fresh Pack Technology, Drought Management, and a Commission Listening Session.