Blueberry harvester says hundreds of dollars of berries being stolen
ORLAND, Maine (WABI) - Local blueberry harvesters claim that folks passing by have been helping themselves to blueberries on private farms in Orland.
Just last week harvesters found a missing 40X40 foot area of blueberries.
In the middle was a person’s wallet, which has since been returned to local authorities.
“Between me losing and the company losing and the owner losing, for a 40X40, you’re talking like hundreds of dollars. A half an acre? You’re talking thousands of dollars,” said Marc Pelletier, Harvest Contractor.
“Yesterday morning when I pulled in there was a man a woman and their children sitting right next to my truck with the harvester on it, picking berries. And they looked at me and said is this alright? And I said no you’re stealing berries,” said Pelletier.
The concern with these missing berries though also lies with the work that goes into growing them.
Farmers and harvesters make an investment into these fields and each lost berry is a smaller return on their investment.
“We gotta mow these, we gotta fertilize them, we gotta spray them for bugs. There’s a lot of work that goes into raising these. Basically you’re just stealing, it’s no different then going into somebody’s Apple orchard and picking a basket of apples,” said Pelletier.
If you're not certain you're picking *wild* blueberries, here's a good tip - they don't naturally grow all together.
“If you see a field with a blue carpet, it’s not wild. If you want blueberries, go to a farm stand or go to your store. You can buy them you don’t have to steal them,” said Pelletier.
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