The Hanscom family of the Welch Farm in Roque Bluffs has been harvesting blueberries for several generations. The farm was named after Wayne Hanscom’s grandfather, Frank Welch, who came to the property the day he married his wife, Mary, in 1912. They bought the farm from the Thompson family. Unfortunately Frank and Mary’s house burned two months after they moved in. The farmhouse was rebuilt and, in time, 400 head of cattle was raised on the farm and 200 head of sheep was raised on the nearby islands.
When Wayne Hanscom was growing up and taking responsibility of the farm for his aging grandfather, he made a decision to taper the amount of cows that were being raised on the farm and to focus on blueberry production. He has picked blueberries for the past fifty-three years.
Blueberries have always played a significant part in Maine history. Native Americans ate the fresh blueberries and preserved the berries by drying them. The dried berries were used as seasonings and to cure meat. Wild blueberry tea was valued for healing. During colonial times the blueberry was utilized in a variety of recipes. Blueberries were even canned and served to the Union Army in the Civil War.
Perhaps the most significant contribution of blueberry production is the fact that blueberries are very great from a health perspective. They contain an antioxidant that helps combat infection. Blueberries are filled with vitamins and minerals. They are fat-free and contain no cholesterol or sodium. Although many blueberry fans appreciate the healthy aspects of this fruit, their love for the berries is often simply based on the fact that they taste so delicious in the jams, jellies, muffins, cakes, and pies.