NPR Interviews Drummond for Report on Popularity of Nordic Berries in Asia

Frank Drummond, an entomology specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a UMaine professor of insect ecology, was quoted in the NPR report, “Asian countries have Nordic berry fever, and Finland can’t keep up.” Every day, about 7,000 Thai workers search the woods of Finland and Sweden for bilberries, lingonberries and cloudberries. Using buckets and scooping tools, they each gather up to 270 pounds of berries, according to the report. Even with each person picking 270 pounds a day, it isn’t enough for the high demand at Nordic berry companies, the report states. The berries are used in food such as pies, jams, ice cream and juice, as well as health and beauty products. Domesticating the Nordic berries — which would involve breeding and selecting to create something similar to the highbush blueberry — is a possibility to help with the demand, the report states. “It’s such a complicated process that it could take several decades for the Scandinavian countries to figure out what is the best way to grow the plant without adverse effects,” Drummond said.