Nature’s deep patterns and principles inform Farmer Dell’s process

Learning from nature guides Farmer Dell’s practices at his farm.  Wescogus wild blueberry farm is situated above the Pleasant River in the heart of Downeast  Maine, the name Wescogus in Passamquoddy means above the water.  This natural site for these wild blueberry barrens is well adapted for the processes that eloquently meet his farming needs without compromising the ecosystem. 

These plants were not  seeded by Farmer Dell  as The blueberries on the Wescogus farm were actually brought to Maine naturally via the glaciers. They are 1 of 4 indigenous fruits to North America meaning they grow naturally and have been here for thousands of years. Farmer Dell cares for his wild blueberries just as the first stewards of the land cared. Everything is done naturally. The Wescogus farm keeps their process as close to the Earth as they can and have a passion for following the first indigenous people’s process to produce this bio-diverse fruit. 

The wild blueberries grow in a two year cycle after August, once the harvest is over.  Farmer Dell waits until the frost in order to mow the ground. Mowing and burning does not damage the plant, as 70% of the wild blueberry plant’s rhyzome system is underground. The fields are hand-spread with oat straw. The oat straw carries the fire and is crucial for this process. Farmer Dell calls the Winter snows  “ The Poor Man’s Fertilizer.” The snow also protects the plants from the harsh winters. Farmer Dell says, ” When they start to pop-up in the spring, he feeds them. Then the blueberries grow 8 to 10 inches by July, then they turn bright red in the fall. Then in the winter, protected by the snow the buds are preparing for the following June when we get beautiful pink flowers where the bees get busy and pollinate and the berries set on. August is the harvest and Farmer Dell does not pick them until they are ready and ripe. This ends of the 2-year cycle which later repeats again.”

There are millions of clones of wild blueberries. Farmer Dell and Marie are very proud of the diversity in the special crop they grow in a sustainable manner for future generations of family farms. Because Farmer Dell has grown and studied wild blueberries for over almost 70 years, he understands the intricacies of this very interesting fruit. Marie, a trained chef who has taught food and nutrition at a community college, makes wild blueberry products for their retail business (the Big Blue Dome on Route 1). They encourage everyone to eat more wild blueberries because they are extremely nutritious and delicious! Farmer Dell and Chef Marie make a good team when it comes to farming and cooking the delicious wild blueberries.