UMaine, Wyman’s to launch Wyman’s Wild Blueberry Research and Innovation Center on June 30

Wyman’s Wild Blueberry Research and Innovation Center will celebrate its launch in Old Town off University Farm Road on Thursday, June 30, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

The launch event celebrates a new, 3-acre wild blueberry research and education site at the J. Franklin Witter Teaching & Research Center near the University of Maine campus. It will be established through a gift from Wyman’s to the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station through the University of Maine Foundation. The center’s wild blueberry research plots will be unlike any other in Maine — or the world — with raised beds precisely controlled for genotype and climate conditions. This approach to wild blueberry research is uniquely suited to intensive study and transformational scientific breakthroughs, while providing unprecedented experiential learning opportunities for students. The work will also complement field-scale research UMaine’s scientists conduct at Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro, and on commercial wild blueberry operations ranging from one-half to more than ten thousand acres across the growing region. 

Among those expected to speak at the event: Wyman’s President/CEO Tony Shurman; Wyman’s agronomist Bruce Hall; Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias; and Diane Rowland, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture and director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station at the University of Maine.

Following the welcome, the interdisciplinary research team that will lead research at the site starting in 2024 will demonstrate how they will advance the fundamental knowledge of wild blueberry production, from heat stress and erratic rainfall to pollinator diversity. Presentation topics include a climate change simulation chamber, biochar mulch, bumblebee colony, weather station and wild blueberry plants that will be rooted at the center in October 2022. Wyman’s will have its Bee Wild Mobile onsite to give celebrants a taste of Maine’s state fruit.