Growing fruit in Maine is already a challenge.

Ever try to grow anything? Like anything at all? I'm trying to grow pumpkins this year, and it's going awfully. Like, super bad. My dog loves pumpkin, and I like to mix it with his food, so I thought this would be perfect. But instead, I have a raised bed full of weeds, and not one single pumpkin anywhere to be found.

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I really envy anyone with a green thumb. Mine is the opposite of green, whatever that may be. Some folks are amazing with it. I have a friend on a farm with apple trees, pear trees, strawberries, blueberries.... you name it, he's growing it. In major abundance. But what if you wanted to try and grow something like currants or gooseberries?

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Sure, plant (almost) all the weed you want, but...


Turns out, that these fruits, and ones like them, are illegal to grow here in Maine, according to Yahoo News. All these fruits belong to a species called ribesThese plants are all host to a certain kind of fungus that attacks white pine trees. The fungus will slowly kill an infected tree by cutting off its ability to process water.

A view near Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park.

Considering Maine is the Pine Tree State, allowing these potential pine killers is a big no-no. There are some areas of the state where growing these fruits is permitted, but only in areas with very few pine trees. But European Black Currants remain illegal statewide, as they carry the greatest concentration of the fungus.

Candida auris fungi, emerging multidrug resistant fungus, 3D illustration

But there's money to be made off the fruit, right?

In other states, these fruits have grown quite popular among the "pick-your-own" farms. Numerous groups have tried to repeal the laws in the state, citing the potential for making money. But, Maine's pine industry overshadows the would-be jelly market by about 1000 fold.

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Like I said before, Maine is the Pine Tree State. If we can't all agree that we should do whatever's necessary to protect our beloved pines, that's too bad. Maybe grow cannabis instead. Maybe it'll smell nice in with all the pines.

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