Growing up in the Wild Blueberry business
An interview with 5th generation Wild Blueberry farmer Kim Allen
Kim Allen grew up in a fifth generation wild blueberry family. Her great, great grandfather and great grandfather started Allen’s Blueberries in 1957 on the sprawling Wild Blueberry Barrens of Hancock County, Maine. Today, Kim and her father, Roy P. Allen II continue the family tradition along with staff and other family members. Summer is a very busy time on the Wild Blueberry Barrens, but Kim was gracious enough to spend a little time talking about her family’s Wild Blueberry business.
Are you a 5th generation grower?
Yes. My great, great grandfather and great grandfather started Allen’s Blueberry business in 1957 and then my great grandfather, grandfather, father, and uncle all worked for the business. Now I work here, alongside my dad and cousin.
What is your role at Allen’s Blueberries?
I am in charge of sales, both domestically and internationally.
How many pounds of Wild Blueberries do you harvest and process each year?
Today we process 15 million pounds annually.
Have you always worked with your family at Allen’s?
Yes, I have always worked here, other than a very short stint during high school at the Ellsworth Dairy Queen.
What is your role as chair of the Wild Blueberry Association of North America Research Committee?
I work closely with the executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine and also with the nutrition expert from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. I participate in phone calls with researchers. I also help to plan the annual Wild Blueberry Health Research Summit in Bar Harbor. WBANA is dedicated to furthering research that explores the health potential of Wild Blueberries and since 1997, we’ve hosted a worldwide gathering of scientists and researchers whose work is leading the way in learning more and more about the health benefits of Wild Blueberries.
What do you love about growing Wild Blueberries?
I think the biggest part is that I am a health fanatic and wild blueberries are so healthy. I love being on the research committee because I get to hear all of the wonderful research that is being done with wild blueberries. It’s so nice to be in a business where I can promote a food that is really good for people and also so delicious. There’s the added bonus that it’s fun to sell something that people really want.
Can you talk more about how you are a health fanatic?
I have always been interested in eating a healthy diet and exercising a lot. I used to teach step aerobics and run marathons. I recently took up cross fit training.
How do you explain the incredible growth in popularity of wild blueberries?
I attribute that to the research. People have become more health conscious as our population ages and this has created a large demand for Wild Blueberries.