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Nov 7, 2013 12:13 PM

Frozen Wild Blueberries from Quebec: Where to Find?

Does anyone know where I can find wild (low bush) blueberries from the Boreal region in Quebec? Trader Joe's has them for $3.49 for 454g. Wyman's blueberries are from Maine.

Quebec blueberries are supposed to be much better than American blueberries because they do not contain pesticides. I have a friend from the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region who claims that their blueberries really are "wild." He also claims that these tiny berries are the primary food source of black bears.

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  1. What makes you think Maine blueberries are sprayed? They are wild, not cultivated. In fact, they CAN'T be cultivated, despite multiple attempts throughout farming history. I don't think they are sprayed, but would like to see sources that claim they are, if you could please share. I would be surprised if the Quebec ones are sweeter, they are all the same species (vaccinium angustifolium) which thrive specifically in Maine, Atlantic Canada and Quebec:

    ...and those Maine ones are pretty darn sweet! You can get bulk packs of the Wyman's at Costco for a decent price.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Science Chick

      They're the same species, but the climate in Quebec is completely different. Quebec might be right across the border, but it's an enormous province that extends all the way to the Arctic.

      Here's a list of pesticides used on Maine blueberries:

      Another article I found:

      "However, pesticides are still very much a part of wild blueberry production in Maine. This was highlighted most recently in late 2004 and early 2005, when Maine's two largest blueberry growers, Cherryfield Foods Inc. and Jasper Wyman & Son, agreed to halt aerial pesticide spraying after a coalition of Maine environmental groups threatened to sue the companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

      This change didn't reduce or eliminate the amount of pesticides being used by these companies; it just altered the application method from aerial to ground spraying.

      "The bulk of organic, wild blueberries come from Quebec," Bell said. "It's a very tough market for us to compete in. One of the challenges Maine has is the fruit fly maggot, which they don't have up in Quebec.""

      Pesticides are everywhere, and I'm sure blueberries from Maine are legally safe to eat...but I recently decided to increase my blueberry intake, and with blueberries being such a delicate, thin-skinned fruit, I'd much rather go with the Canadian ones if I have a choice.

      1. re: SeattleMonkey

        Thank you so much for sharing this! I am really sort of shocked and horrified, but glad to know. I'll be on the lookout for the Quebec ones and post if I see any.

        1. re: Science Chick

          +1. Am stunned to hear about the pesticides on Maine berries. Had always counted Wyman's frozen berries as the healthiest part of my diet. Eat them every morning, along with oatmeal. Appreciate the heads-up & will join Science Chick in the Quebec quest.

          1. re: Science Chick

            I'm not sure that 100% of Quebec blueberries are free of pesticides/herbicides either, but they seem to have a natural advantage with their cold winters killing many common pests.

            Crop Profile for Lowbush Blueberry in Canada, 2011

            Satellite image of blueberry fields:

            Syndicat des Producteurs de Bleuets du Qu├ębec

            1. re: Science Chick

              "Boreal Wild Blueberries" are certified to be free of pesticides and herbicides; synthetic products cannot be applied in the 12 months prior to harvest.

              "Organic" forest-harvested blueberries:

              Quebec Blueberry Production Guide:

          2. re: Science Chick

            I guess it depends on what you mean by "cultivated". No, you don't plow the fields, any more than you would with apples or pears, but you can definitely manage a plantation and farm lowbush blueberries. There's a farm in western MA that has them -- you can PYO or buy from them. They're pretty awesome.

          3. I believe they Quebec blueberries are supposed to be better because the farther north they are grown, the more potent are the anthocyanins.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gracenote

              Interesting...Blanching is supposed to improve anthocyanin bioavailability in highbush blueberries. I wonder if frozen berries are blanched.


              1. re: drewinmrblhd

                These are from the Pacific Northwest....same species? Seems like they are hawking them as tarter than regular blueberries....

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. There is a brand called MOOV that's sold at Costco here in Canada. They are pesticide free certified Boreal and cost $9.99 CDN for 1.5 kg.