As you know, we live for our produce! So when the Wild Blueberry Association of North America invited us to join them for a press trip in Bar Harbor Maine with fellow registered dietitians and bloggers to visit the wild blueberry fields, learn all about their health benefits and enjoy incredible Wild Blueberry inspired meals, we jumped at the opportunity! (Psst…. we’ve been cookin’ and experimenting with delicious wild blueberries ever since! Have you tried our Skinny Meatballs with Wild Blueberry BBQ Sauce or our 5 Ingredient No-Bake Wild Blueberry Granola Balls or our Lemon Wild Blueberry Mini Tarts — to just name a few!)
As soon as we left the bustle of New York City and before our plane even touched down in Maine, a wild blueberry field relaxation mode started to set in. As for feeling in a vacation mode, it certainly didn’t hurt that we stayed in the gorgeous water-front Bar Harbor Inn. It was cute and the staff was so helpful after Lyssie’s luggage didn’t arrive (the whole twin thing confused our ticket agents at LaGuardia—they stapled our luggage claim receipts together but forgot to label Lyssie’s bag!)! Plus, the views were absolutely stunning—it looked right over the water!
Next, it was off to the wild blueberry processing plant and the fields! Lyssie’s luggage arrived just in the nick of time (phew!)! She needed her rain boots and her coat!
Fun Nutrition Twins traveling fact: On the way to the wild blueberry processing plant we passed the KOA campground in Acadia National Park where we stayed for several days when we were 8 years old on our family vacay! It was there where a seagull stole our Mom’s shoe that she had just gotten at the Maine Bass outlet.
First up: Wyman’s processing plant—the same brand of frozen wild blueberries that we buy at our NYC market (Wyman’s of Maine!). We got an insider look at how they hustle to make sure that the blueberries are picked at the peak of ripeness and then individually quick-frozen within 24 hours of harvest (this is nature’s pause button!) to lock in their intense blueberry flavor, nutrition and antioxidant power. We learned that 99% of wild blueberries are frozen because they naturally have a more delicate skin than conventional blueberries so they are harder to transport. It was incredible to watch the process. Tammy went in the freezer with the blueberries (it was -40 degrees! Yep, NEGATIVE 40 degrees in the freezer!)—Lyssie opted out—which was perfectly fine by her, as she still was able to sample the berries right after they were flash frozen!
Next, it was on to one of our absolute highlights of the trip–the wild blueberry fields! Wow, they were spectacular (our photo doesn’t do it justice!). They stretched as far as the eye could see. And even though it was raining and chilly, it was perfect for the wild blueberries—that’s just how they like it—and that’s why they only grow up north. In fact, they’ve grown there for 10,000 years! So they are strong, and can survive the harsh winters up there! And as you can see, the wild blueberries grow close to the ground and we learned this works well for them as the snow actually acts like a blanket for them in the winter!
Here we are with our friends– some of the amazing wild blueberry PR team members and some of our fellow RDs and bloggers! That’s us there in the middle—yep the rain didn’t help our hair one bit, and in true fashion, Tammy’s eyes are shut! 🙂
Regan Miller Jones – Healthy Aperture
Mike Collins, Ethos, Senior Marketing Strategist
Betta Stothart, Ethos Marketing
Danielle Omar – Food Confidence
Brenda Bennett – Sugar-Free Mom
Gretchen Brown – Kumquat Blog
Liz Weiss – Meal Makeover Moms
Carolyn O’Neil – O’Neil on Eating
David Yarborough, PHD
Anne Mauney – Fannetastic Food
Susan Irby – The Bikini Chef
Carolyn Tesini – contributing editor with Eating Well Magazine
Mary Pols – Portland Press Herald
Next we got to rake the blueberries! This was one of our fave parts! Cool to get a workout in It’s really hard work for the farmers who do it all day long! Check out our video of us raking the blueberries—you’ll see how much work it requires and why 80% of the blueberries are now mechanically raked 🙂 .
Here’s Lyssie hard at work…
And here’s Tammy (although based on her lack of blueberries she either had just dumped her collection or she wasn’t working too hard after all!)… There in the background is Mike Collins—Ethos PR company’s Senior Marketing Strategist.
And as RDs we of course have to share some amazing facts about wild blueberries—since we all know that blueberries are nutritional powerhouses! However, wild blueberries actually have twice the fiber and the antioxidants of even regular blueberries! Wowzers!!!!! In case you’re wondering why, they have a higher concentration of the flavonoid anthocyanin, a phytochemical found in blue-pigmented fruit. And the fiber is higher because of the greater skin-to-pulp ratio compared the larger cultivated blueberries.
Of course it only makes sense that after picking blueberries, watching them get flash frozen and learning all about them and their nutritional goodness, we were spoiled by some wild blueberry inspired meals from Havana! Each course contains wild blueberries! Yum!
In honor of our beloved wild blueberries, here’s a delish recipe from the Wild Blueberry website. Visit their site for loads of delicious, nutrient-packed recipes!
Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Wild Blueberries
• 1 cup frozen Wild Blueberries
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 baguettes French bread,11-12 ounces each, cut into ½ inch slices
• 8 medium tomatoes, about 6 cups
• 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 3 cloves of garlic, cut in half
• 2 large shallots, diced
• 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
• ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Clean and wash tomatoes, cut them into quarters, and remove the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Peel garlic and shallots and finely chop. Wash basil, pick off the leaves and pat dry. Reserve some basil leaves for garnishing and cut the remaining leaves into thin strips.
Mix tomatoes, garlic, shallots and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil to bottom of bowl and mix everything together. Let stand at least 2 hours. Gently fold in Wild Blueberries.
Place cut slices of bread on baking sheets. Brush lightly with olive oil. Bake 15 minutes until brown and crispy. Remove from oven and run cut garlic over each slice.
Evenly spread tomato-blueberry mixture over the bread slices. Garnish with remaining basil and serve.
Makes about 24 pieces.
Calories 110, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrates 17 g, Total Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 0, Sodium 280 mg, Fiber 2 g, Cholesterol 0
- • 1 cup frozen Wild Blueberries
- • 4 tablespoons olive oil
- • 2 baguettes French bread,11-12 ounces each, cut into ½ inch slices
- • 8 medium tomatoes, about 6 cups
- • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- • 3 cloves of garlic, cut in half
- • 2 large shallots, diced
- • ¾ cup chopped fresh basil
- • 1 teaspoon salt
- • 1 teaspoon black pepper
- • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Clean and wash tomatoes, cut them into quarters, and remove the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Peel garlic and shallots and finely chop. Wash basil, pick off the leaves and pat dry. Reserve some basil leaves for garnishing and cut the remaining leaves into thin strips.
- Mix tomatoes, garlic, shallots and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil to bottom of bowl and mix everything together. Let stand at least 2 hours. Gently fold in Wild Blueberries.
- Place cut slices of bread on baking sheets. Brush lightly with olive oil. Bake 15 minutes until brown and crispy. Remove from oven and run cut garlic over each slice.
- Evenly spread tomato-blueberry mixture over the bread slices. Garnish with remaining basil and serve.
- Makes about 24 pieces.