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New McDonald’s blueberry sundae uses wild berries processed on P.E.I.

Ten-year-old Hannah MacLean of Charlottetown said the Blueberry Crumble Sundae tasted good and that it was a good idea to use local blueberries.
Ten-year-old Hannah MacLean of Charlottetown said the Blueberry Crumble Sundae tasted good and that it was a good idea to use local blueberries.

A new menu item at McDonald’s restaurants this summer has a touch of P.E.I. as a main ingredient.

That menu item is the Blueberry Crumble Sundae.

And a main ingredient is 198,000 pounds of blueberries picked from fields in the three Maritime provinces and processed at Wyman’s of P.E.I. in Morell.

“To be able to supply a company like McDonald’s is pretty exciting for us,” said Wade Dover, Wyman’s general manager.

“My staff, when we told them that the berries we were producing were going to supply McDonald’s, it really hits home because everybody can identify with McDonald’s. It’s one of those staples in our culture. Everybody knows who they are and what they produce.”

Dover explained the blueberries are not cultivated but grow wild in places such as Maine, Quebec and the Maritimes. They are smaller than cultivated blueberries and have a unique taste, he said.

“Not everybody realizes where the wild berry comes from. Cultivated are grown in rows and their irrigated. These berries, we basically go into a forested area that has blueberries and eliminate all the competition,” Dover said.

“It could take 10 years to take it from standing lumber to a field that’s producing commercial blueberries.”

Ben MacCullum, shift manager of the University Avenue McDonald’s restaurant, holds one of the new Blueberry Crumble Sundaes that is made with wild blueberries from Wyman’s of P.E.I.

Nikki Zamparo, supply chain manager for McDonald’s Canada, said the sundae is being sold across Canada in select locations. It was launched on July 25 as a seasonal product and will continue to be sold until Sept 18 “or while supplies last,” she said.

“We engaged (Wyman’s) because we love to partner with local suppliers wherever possible and where it makes sense for our business,” Zamparo said.

She added that McDonald’s chose wild blueberries over cultivated because they taste better.

At the McDonald’s restaurant on University Avenue in Charlottetown, 10-year-old Hannah MacLean tasted one of the sundaes and said it was really good. She also liked the idea that the blueberries had a P.E.I. connection.

“I think it’s a really good idea because it just brings out P.E.I. Once people have it, it’s a part of P.E.I.,” she said.

Courtney Troock, 36, of Stratford also liked the sundae and said it was very good. She added the blueberries tasted fresh.

But Dover noted that the blueberries are not fresh. Instead, they are IQF or individually quickly frozen.

“We say frozen is fresher than fresh because we freeze our berries within 24 hours of them being picked unlike the fresh ones that you get in the grocery store that might be two weeks old.”

Dover has also tried the sundae.

“I’ve had many of them. They’re delicious.”

terrence.mceachern@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter/com/terry_mcn

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