Yarborough interviewed for BDN article on new use for wild blueberries

The Bangor Daily News interviewed David Yarborough, a professor of horticulture and wild blueberry specialist, for the article, “This new trend for wild Maine blueberries will tingle your taste buds.” The article focused on new trends in Maine’s food industry to incorporate wild blueberries into savory products, like the Blue Flame hot sauce produced by Captain Mowatt’s in Portland. The company uses 10 pounds of wild blueberries to make 48 eight-ounce bottles, the article states. Captain Mowatt’s, Worcester’s Wild Blueberry Products and other companies are moving away from jams and jellies and expanding the range of value-added products made with wild blueberries to include savory sauces, chutneys and more, partly at the request of customers seeking more ways to consume the blueberries, which offer health benefits including twice as many antioxidants as larger high-bush blueberries. “I have seen that there are a lot more diverse products now,” said Yarborough. “[The wild blueberry is] a very healthy product, so getting it away from some of the sugars in jams and into the other products to spice up your life and your food is a great trend.” Oversupply and declining prices in the wild blueberry industry also could have contributed to the expansion of the wild blueberry flavor profile, according to the BDN. Yarborough said a series of bumper crops with harvests above 100 million pounds between 2014 and 2016 exacerbated the issues of oversupply and price decline. “When there’s crisis, there’s opportunity,” he said. “When you lower the price of a product, you create more markets.” He thinks companies might have been motivated by lower prices to experiment with wild blueberries, and is hopeful these new products will increase demand and lead to an increase in the price of the berries. “I think it’s a promising trend and it shall continue. The more people we get eating blueberries, the better for our growers,” he said.