Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has announced that the USDA plans to buy up to $16 million of wild Maine blueberries for federal food nutrition programs.
"This is great news for Maine growers, who are looking at a 25 percent drop in prices because of a bumper crop this summer. The USDA's purchase will go a long way to stabilizing those prices and helping Maine growers recoup losses," said Pingree. "Plus, it's great that these wild blueberries will be headed to food pantries and school lunches across the country. They're extremely healthy, preservative free, and absolutely delicious."
In October, the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine wrote to USDA to ask the agency to make the purchase.
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.