Wild Blueberry Newsletter September 2020

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

September 2020

Wild Blueberry Growers, Processors, and Stakeholders,

While this has been a discouraging harvest, there’s always next year. I hope you’re all recovering and able to enjoy the end of summer. Fall is a great time to manage weeds, apply sulfur and mulch in both prune and crop fields. As researchers and educators we’re brainstorming about irrigation, plant stress, and spotted wing drosophila as we enter and analyze this year’s data. The UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference will be held virtually this year in February.

Would you like to join us for a socially distanced, outdoor field meeting this fall? Pre-registration is available online. Participants are required to wear masks and stand/sit at flags that will be placed 6 feet apart in the field.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (Mid-coast)
(Rain date: Wednesday, October 7, 2020)
Time: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Location: Brodis Blueberries, Jones Hill Road, Hope, ME
Details: One pesticide credit will be available. We will cover IPM tactics and discuss the farm’s new processing building.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 (Downeast)
Time: 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Location: Erik Guptill’s field in Wesley which is right off of Rt. 192 directly across from the end of Guptill Rd. Locals call this field the “Bacon Lot” if that makes sense to you. Coordinates are 44.905004, -67.630907.
Details: One pesticide credit will be available. We will cover Integrated Pest and Crop Management.

Online Pesticide Credit
You can also take the Online Sprayer Calibration Course for one pesticide applicator credit.

CoolbotSurveys for Maine Wild Blueberry Growers

  • State of the Industry Survey. You should have received a postcard this summer with information about the new annual Wild Blueberry Grower Survey. This year the survey includes questions about Covid, labor, and drought in addition to other production and marketing topics.

Here is the survey. You will be prompted to enter the code found on your postcard. If you need your code, please email Jonathan Malacarne at jonathan.malacarne@maine.edu.

  • Fresh Pack System Needs Survey. We are interested in pin pointing the aspects of the fresh pack process that need the most immediate improvement. We would also like to understand what you, as growers and processors, are willing to do in order to improve the fresh pack system. Here is the 5 minute survey.
Air conditioner
We completed building an 8×8 cold storage room (coolbot) for research and education at Blueberry Hill Farm, Jonesboro.

Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program Informational Webinar

Webinar Date & Time: Friday, September 4,12:00-1:00 p.m. (This webinar will be recorded for on-demand viewing)

Who should watch: Farmers and producers with 50 or fewer employees (at any time during the year), who have experienced a 20% loss, and are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health response—including those who already received, or may receive federal funds for pandemic losses. This webinar is put on by DACF.

Register for this webinar now.

Equipment and Land Exchange

I have received an increased number of inquiries this summer about wild blueberry land for sale from new growers. Some are homeowners and others are people serious about farming. I encourage you to post equipment, materials, and land on this page. Please email Mary Michaud to create a posting at mary.j.michaud@maine.edu.