Wild Thing: Blueberries

Fae Kontje-Gibbs

(Vaccinium corymbosum,Vaccinium angustifolium)

Blueberries won’t ripen until June (at least), but spring is the perfect time to scout locations. The plants have small white or pink bell-shaped flowers that make them easy to identify. If you find a good stash, take note, and then keep quiet. Wild blueberries are in high demand.

Where to look: The Island has highbush and lowbush berries, both of which grow in wooded areas with adequate sunlight. (The state forest and Waskosim’s Rock are popular spots.) Lowbush varieties resemble groundcover and grow about a foot high. Highbush varieties can grow up to twelve feet and produce larger berries. Depending on the location and weather, both types may yield fruit from June to September.

How to use: You’ll be hard-pressed to net enough for sharing, let alone enough for a pie or crisp, but give it a try if you’re a master of restraint. Or just sprinkle some over ice cream or cereal.

You ought to have seen what I saw on my way/ To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day/ Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb/ Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum/ In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!/ And all ripe together, not some of them green/ And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!             

                – Robert Frost

Comments (1)

Frank Hadley Murphy
Santa Fe, NM
As a kid, I used to pick the low blueberries in the woods between Vineyard Haven and West Chop. Sometimes I'd sell a pint to Stam's Restaurant in VH. This was back in the early 1960's. I was introduced to the high bush varietal up around Roaring Brook and couldn't believe how big they were and that they were growing over my head. Happy Hunting. FHM
March 11, 2019 - 7:24am