No Farm Required – Maine’s Wild Blueberries
Relatively rested and certainly nicely tanned, I’m back from hiking miles and miles around New Hampshire and Maine. Before I recant my tales, I have to thank Rachel once again for blog sitting for me! She certainly puts her garden to good use! I’m just wishing she wasn’t so far away in Maryland so I could get my hands on some of that cantaloupe gelato!!! Maybe she’ll swap for some of the watermelon sorbet I’ll be posting later this week.
For this post, I wanted to give you a glimpse into my vacation and the bounty of Maine’s local produce. Despite all my world travels, I had never been to Maine before, and I was struck by the beauty of the landscape and the earnestness of the community there. Everywhere there are examples of the honor system… firewood, zucchini, and even pints of wild blueberries all sitting alongside the road with handpainted signs instructing buyers to help themselves and put their payment in a nearby box.
You really couldn’t get away from the blueberries in particular. I think there was either a manned or an unmanned roadside stand for them almost every mile. I also got to pick my own along the trail on top of Mount Penobscot where the small scrubby bushes were growing despite the insanely windy and cold conditions (if it was that cold in August, I don’t know how anything manages to thrive up there – the power of nature!).
One evening, D and I decided to have a romantic sunset picnic at Pretty Marsh, a quiet little inlet on the less touristy side of the park. Earlier in the day while shopping in Bar Harbor, I saw that a local winery makes wild blueberry wine and deemed it a perfect addition to our shoe box picnic (lacking a proper basket, we packed our cheese and crackers in the box from my new hiking boots that was still in the car). In between snapshots of the sun setting and making a lame attempt to foil D at chess while nibbling on extra sharp cheddar, I managed to take this lovely picture of the wine’s label.
In the end, while I enjoyed my brief flirtation with Maine’s wild blueberries’ rustic romantic personality, I really wasn’t so fond of the blueberries themselves (although the wine was quite good). These rugged beauties are like anything wild… a little tough and gamey and short of sweetness. Still, there was something special about them, especially when nibbled during a long hike.
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