Off we go into the wild blueberry yonder
My Spruce Point Inn signature salad arrived before me as a composition sampler of colors and tastes. The greens ranged from purple to green the color of early morning meadow mist in July. The chevre from Tourmaline Hills farm in nearby Greenwood – soft clouds in this green sky, if you will – was the consistency of whipped cream and tasted just as ethereal. A mix of red and golden cherry-sized tomatoes, cut in half and the home-glazed pecans, sprinkled across the plate. But the Maine blueberries – the identifying totems of this signature salad were the prize.
Combining the elements on my fork so the sum flavor was much greater than its parts, I couldn’t help noticing the blueberries. And I can’t stop thinking about them now. Especially as the farmstands start filling their shelves with blue boxes where the strawberries once stood. And as the man with the pop-up stand on Route 1 heading north from Wiscasset puts out his “wild blueberries – pick this morning” sign.
Yes, blueberries are indigenous to Maine. Native Americans used them fresh and dried for flavor and nutrition and the wild blueberry is the official state fruit of Maine. There are low-bush blueberries that grow close to the ground and are harvested with hard labor. And there are high-bush blueberries like the one growing between Cardinal and Bluebird that Joe pointed out to me.
Blueberries are as much a part of Maine and summer as a classic lobster bake. They find their way into pies, soup, jam, pancakes and – yes – salads. But they found their way into our hearts the first time we stood in a summer meadow next to a high-bush blueberry and filled our boxes simply by running our fingers through the branches. Who could possibly argue with a fruit that brings such reward for so little effort?
And what better signature could Spruce Point use to pledge its promise of such ease for our guests?