Blueberries From Piscataquis County 

When many people think of Maine blueberries, they immediately think of the coast, but not all of them are grown Downeast.One vendor at the 2012 American Folk Festival grows their berries in Piscataquis County.Lee and Everett Worcester have ties to that traditional area, Everett grew up in a family of blueberry farmers from Columbia Falls.”Everybody in the family participated in that, and I didn’t get into the operation until obviously when we married.”But the plan was never to make blueberries their line of work. “Not in my mind it wasn’t because we were, we were teachers and administrators and we were going to graduate school, so this was, we’d come back from Texas for three-four weeks in the summer and do blueberries and it was a great relief from being in school.”That’s how it went until they both retired from the education field, and Worcester’s Wild Blueberries was there for a retirement job. “I thought we’d maybe do it for a couple of years and get it out of our system and go on to something else.”Instead, they expanded.In 2003, they decided to get a booth at what was then the National Folk Festival.”All we had was blueberry jam and blueberry blossom honey that was it, I don’t know how we made it through three days at the Folk Festival, I really don’t, but now we just lug in, well you can see just cartons and cartons of all different kinds of products.”That first year spurned the Worcesters to expand and try new recipes, and find new things to produce from blueberries.”I think it’s been very big because we have customers who come back, who like to go to the Folk Festival anyway, that’s an event for their family, out of state people you know, not just Maine people, but out of state people and they come right to us and they’ll say ‘I need my case of blueberry jam’, cause they’ll lug them away by the case which we love, which we love.”Lee and Everett are retired and doing something they love. He enjoys raking blueberries next to teenagers in the fields, and she enjoys talking with customers to find out how their products are being used and to be challenged to come up with new recipes.But ultimately, this is now a labor of love for both of them.”Even though it’s tiring and it’s exhausting and everybody is coming and going at the same time, it is fun, we do enjoy it, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it, you couldn’t do it.”