From Jams to Gifts, the Worcester’s Know Wild Blueberries
In 1963, Everett Worcester’s father stumbled into the Wild Blueberry business after buying 100 acres of land in Orneville Township – the original idea was to build a hunting camp, but little did they know that when exploring their new land, they would come across acres of Wild Blueberries. Today, just three miles down the road from that original piece of land, Everett Worcester and his wife, Lee, run Worcester’s Wild Blueberries and Worcester’s Wild Blueberry Products. They keep themselves busy with freezing their own berries, to creating wedding favors for Maine brides.
Q: How long has your farm been in business?
A: Three generations have worked on our family farm for about 40 years. I (Everett) grew up in Washington County where Wild Blueberries are plentiful. We ended up buying land in Orneville Township where we planned to build a hunting camp – instead, we ended up in the Wild Blueberry business. It was a hobby that got out of hand.
Q: How many pounds of Wild Blueberries do you grow and harvest annually?
A: As with any crop, it depends on the year, but I’d say we average between 80,000 to 100,000 pounds of Wild Blueberries per year. After hand raking our many, many acres for years, we de-rocked our fields and now use walk-behind mechanical harvesters for efficiency and to help reduce labor costs.
Q: How do you sell your fresh Wild Blueberries?
A: We participate in five farmers’ markets locally, have our own roadside stand, sell wholesale to a few grocery stores, and have a certain percentage of the annual crop go to value-add products. We freeze our own Wild Blueberries in five or 10-pound boxes – this is done onsite in our walk-in freezer. We sell our frozen Wild Blueberries directly to consumers via our website, as well as to local customers, specialty food stores, and a few regional grocery stores.
Q: Do you sell any value-add products?
A: We’ve made jams and jellies from the beginning. Our Wild Blueberry jam, Blueberry Blossom Honey, and Maine blueberry syrup are best sellers. We also make Wild Blueberry pie filling, BBQ sauce vinaigrettes, and more. We have about 14 products for sale at the farm, stores and on the internet.
Q: Do you allow tours of your farm?
A: We don’t offer regular tours, but we do participate annually in Open Farm Day sponsored by the State Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. This year will look a little different because it’s going to be virtual. Instead of visiting wild blueberry farms, people will be able to learn about our business by watching a video the University of Maine created about us.
Q: What makes the Wild Blueberry industry different than other Maine industries?
A: There is no berry like the Wild Blueberry – they have such a wide variety of sizes, colors, and tend to have a sweeter taste. Beyond the berries, for us it’s all about the people. We have a good following here in Maine and beyond. I (Lee) love working on the wedding side of our business and interacting with fiancees, partners, or their parents, that are getting married here in Maine. We also provide wedding favors for many Mainers who have moved away, who met their spouse here, and/or felt a true connection to Maine during their in our state. People want their special Maine memories to be a part of their celebration. I help them with our products and provide them with something unique that we create. Making people happy gives us a lot of pride in our work.
Don’t miss out on a little piece of Maine magic – stop by Worcester’s Wild Blueberries to pick up some tangy, native Maine Wild Blueberries at their roadside farm stand as soon as they’re available in August! Learn more about Worcester’s Wild Blueberries by visiting their website.