Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blueberry Rakes: The Hubbard Rake Company of Jonseport, Maine

Part 20 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Wild blueberry season is upon us. Now you can harvest these succulent blue fruit quickly, easily, and by the gallon with the help of a specialized "blueberry rake" from The Hubbard Rake Company.

Zeus
Hubbard Rake Production Manager
If you've ever spent time hunched over, combing low-lying blueberry bushes for their savory bonanza, then you know that it can be slow work to collect a lot of them (especially if you're continuously snacking as you go). That's where the blueberry rake comes in. This aluminum tool features a row of long teeth that allows the leaves and twigs to pass through but neatly plucks the larger-diameter blueberries right off the plant and into the rake's scoop. 

The Hubbard Rake Company is located in Jonesport, Maine, about as "Down East" as you can get—at the far eastern end of Maine's long sinuous coastline. It's also smack in the middle of the state's wild blueberry bounty. Blueberries are big business in Maine, especially the wild low-bush variety—the state's 2011 wild blueberry harvest weighed in at 83.1 million pounds and was worth more than $70 million!

Hubbard Rake quality control is helmed by Zeus, the operation's canine production manager, with product development pioneered by company proprietor Ike Hubbard. Ike developed his first prototype rake in 1990 and has since refined the design to encompass a wide range of styles and options, from a small 20-tooth model (1.25 pounds, $36) to 30-tooth (30T) model with raised handles to a three-foot-wide 110-tooth super-scooper (10 pounds, $140). Ike also produces other specialized rakes for for cranberries and huckleberries.

For backpackers and day-hikers, there is a "mini" working version that weighs in at around one pound ($34). It also features a reversible handle for better packability.


Of course, you'll need to find a lush and abundant blueberry patch before a Hubbard rake comes in handy—but that's not Zeus' concern, now is it? Happy picking!

Support your Northeast gear companies! Here are the 19 I've profiled to date:
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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