Wild Maine Blueberries
What happens when you infuse the sensuous spices of the East with the down home taste of the Maine wild blueberry? An amazing chutney that is exotic yet familiar.
Molly Sholes is the culinary wizard who has brought together these two flavors as part of her line of wild blueberry jams and condiments. Drawing on her experiences living in India and Pakistan for 19 years, Sholes has created a business out of the rocky blueberry fields of Spruce Mountain in West Rockport, Maine.
Sholes’ peripatetic life was a result of her husband’s job in the U.S. foreign service. In 1956, the couple moved to Pakistan and then to posts in India, Turkey, and eventually back in the United States.
In the late 1970s, Sholes and her family moved to Newport, R.I., where her husband was posted to the Naval War College. That led to her enrolling at URI in pursuit of a library science degree.
“When we were in Istanbul, Turkey,” she recalled, “I volunteered as a librarian at the Roberts College Missionary School. I thought that I would like to be a children’s librarian so decided to study library science after we moved to Rhode Island.” She completed her degree after they moved yet again to Washington, D.C.
However, her life took a different turn. Sholes and her husband had bought an old Maine farmhouse with mature blueberry fields in 1971. After her divorce in 1984, Sholes put her energy into modernizing the old house. She also started her business, Spruce Mountain Blueberries.
“I found an ancient North Indian recipe for plum chutney, and I worked with it using blueberries,” said Sholes. She tested it on friends in India during her visits back, and it was a hit.
She expanded her repertoire and in 2005 won the Gallo Family Award for her blueberry vinegar. Today her business is mostly wholesale, but the website keeps people who have fallen in love with her products well supplied.
For more information, see her website,sprucemtnblueberries.com
—Jennifer Gaul ’89