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With blueberries in trouble, Maine eyes commission overhaul

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers might try to pump some life into the state’s troubled wild blueberry industry by overhauling the makeup of the commission that promotes the state’s most important fruit crop.

Maine is the only significant commercial U.S. source of wild blueberries, which are smaller than the ubiquitous cultivated blueberries. They’re used in frozen and processed products. Harvesters collected about 57 million pounds of the fruit in 2018, down nearly 11 million pounds from the previous year.

A legislative committee is considering a bill to expand the number of people who sit on the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. It coordinates promotion, education, policy, research and development of the fruit. Supporters say the proposal could help the commission represent a broader cross section of the industry.

It faces a Thursday vote.

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