Posted on

The Lost Art of Growing Blueberries With Fire

CARRYING ON THE TRADITION OF FIRE-CULTURE ON MAINE'S BLUEBERRY BARRENS. This very interesting article in 'Atlas Obscura' profiles our friend, Nicholas Lindholm, a wise organic Blueberry farmer on the mid-coast of Maine and examines his traditional way of managing wild Blueberry land.
Nicholas is an entrepreneur and in addition to selling locally at Maine Farmers Markets, his family's 'Blue Hill Berry Company' ships their fresh-frozen organic Blueberries to any address in the Lower 48 Sates. The new Blueberry crop is growing now and will be ready to ship nationwide beginning in September. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"By the time Europeans first made contact with the Passamaquoddy tribe along the rugged coastline of what is now Maine, fire had been an agricultural tool there for centuries. Between summertime harvests, tribes burned the unforgiving, rocky terrain from which blueberries sprung forth, a custom that encouraged the new growth of what was, to many Indigenous people, a sacred fruit. Colonizers carried on the stark tradition, and burning blueberry fields by hand, with help from family, friends, and neighbors, became as much a fixture of the coastal Maine lifestyle as blueberries became of a new American diet.

"In the frenzy of 19th-century industrialization, though, the ancient custom largely fell by the wayside. The communal task of burning uneven, rocky fields by hand was exchanged for mechanized burns of leveled, de-rocked, and chemically treated fields. Today, only a handful of Maine’s growers use fire to produce world-class, wild blueberries, but it doesn’t exactly bother them…

"'I do a lot of things by choice that people don’t do anymore,' says blueberry grower Nicolas Lindholm of Blue Hill Berry Company, 'and I’m only finding more and more reasons to keep doing them.'"

The Lost Art of Growing Blueberries With Fire

Using all four elements to grow the perfect berry.