September 28, 2023
It’s official – the wild blueberry barrens at Clarry Hill have become a Forever Farm, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our community! On Friday, September 15, Maine Farmland Trust closed on the purchase of an agricultural easement on Clarry Hill, a 263-acre property in Union and Waldoboro. The easement will protect Clarry Hill for agricultural use forever, supporting Midcoast Maine’s local blueberry growers and industry. The project was made possible thanks to the generous support of the MFT community, including the Ram Island Conservation Fund at the Maine Community Foundation, an anonymous donor, the John Sage Fund, and many others.
“Clarry Hill has been on our radar for years,” said MFT President & CEO Amy Fisher, as we celebrated the closing. “This is a regionally known landscape with hilltop views that make it highly vulnerable to development. With the community’s enthusiastic support for this project, we’re thrilled that future farmers will be able to continue growing wild blueberries at Clarry Hill, preserving its place in Maine’s wild blueberry industry forever.”
VP of Programs Adam Bishop was the Clarry Hill easement project manager and added, “Maine’s wild blueberry harvest is especially susceptible to fluctuations in weather and growing conditions and like so many types of farming, cost inputs have gone up while market prices have remained flat, leaving wild blueberry land particularly vulnerable to nonagricultural development. Protecting this resource is vital for supporting the industry, the farmers in the region, and the future of this important Maine crop.”
“We did it! You did it!” says Susan Morris, board member at Maine Farmland Trust. “I am so happy that these two organizations were able to raise the funds to protect the spectacular blueberry fields and surrounding forest land on Clarry Hill. Thank you!”
We closed on the easement at the same time Midcoast Conservancy purchased the property in a parallel effort to protect it for its working lands and habitat values.
Read more in this article from the Pen Bay Pilot or learn about Clarry Hill’s role in Maine’s broader blueberry community in MFT’s blog post from our summer tour with prominent members of the blueberry industry.