Watch all five episodes of Ship ME Out at shipmeout.com
"Ship ME Out" tells the story of the people from around the world who get Maine wild blueberries from the barrens of downeast Maine to stores in Iceland, after they’re processed into jam and sailed across the Atlantic on a container ship. This five-part series is an economics story that shows how Maine's multi-million dollar investment connects the state to other countries and new neighbors.
It’s a modern-day Viking saga about business, sea captains, CEOs and wicked good blueberry pie.
NEWS CENTER Maine reporter Dustin Wlodkowski and photojournalist Kirk Cratty are the connective tissue binding together the characters you’ll meet on this journey for the first time on video. You can find the full series at shipmeout.com and on NEWS CENTER Maine's YouTube page.
Episode 2 - 'Jam Session'
It’s a modern day Viking saga, shipped out in a jar of jam. The second episode of Ship ME Out tells the stories of Mainers in York and Portland who turn wild blueberries into jam and get that jam sent out on a ship to Europe. This show picks up where Episode 1 left off. It begins at Stonewall Kitchen’s corporate headquarters in York, Maine. You’ll get an up close look at the jam-making process, as explained by company CEO John Stiker (also a Mainer!). Dustin and Kirk will then take you up to Portland’s International Marine Terminal, where you’ll see exactly what it takes to get a container ship docked, unloaded, loaded and on its way back out to sea. Along the way you’ll meet harbor pilots, port employees, get a look at a “mesmerizing” jar-filling machine and get a basic tour of a cargo vessel.
Why wild Maine blueberry jam?
We chose to follow Stonewall Kitchen’s wild Maine blueberry jam to Iceland out of necessity. There are other Maine-sourced agricultural and aquacultural products shipped through Portland’s marine terminal. However, many of these items are transferred to other ships in Iceland and get sent other countries. For this project, we needed to find a product that had Iceland as its final destination. After doing some digging, we discovered Stonewall Kitchen’s popularity in Iceland and reached out to them. The jam also happens to be company’s best-selling product for the past 25 years, according to company CEO and Yarmouth native John Stiker.
Why it matters…
According to the Maine International Trade Center, 17,500 containers passed through Portland’s International Marine Terminal or IMT in 2017. This cargo had a value of $503 million. Tens of millions of your federal and Maine state tax dollars have been invested in the port as well. Maine grocery stores now stock items like fish brought in through the IMT. Maine businesses like Stonewall Kitchen and Wyman’s now export their products not just to Iceland, but worldwide through this port.
Where will Episode 2 take me? 📍
York: Stonewall Kitchen has a corporate headquarters here. You’ll get a look inside at the offices, the café, gift shop and production floor where wild Maine blueberry jam is made.
Portland: This is where Iceland-bound ships dock in Maine to load and unload containers. That takes place at the International Marine Terminal on Commercial Street, right next to the Casco Bay Bridge. You’ll also take two trips into Portland Harbor – first with harbor pilots, the people who navigate Eimskip ships in and later on board the EF AVA, the vessel Dustin, Kirk and the wild Maine blueberry jam sail on to Iceland.
PHOTOS: Ship ME Out | E2 - Jam Session
Who will I meet along the way? 🤝
John Stiker - CEO, Stonewall Kitchen (York, ME)
"I would say on almost a weekly basis someone here at stonewall kitchen gets an email from someone traveling somewhere – often abroad -- and they’ll say: ‘oh I just saw a display of Stonewall Kitchen in Australia, Iceland or Germany, so it’s always exciting for us to know that we’re making a big impact globally. You know, in this age of globalization, we like to think that we’re exporting a little bit of New England, a little bit of comfort and deliciousness which I think is a great signal for our company and our country to be sending around the globe."
Carol Deeney - Dir. of Int'l Sales, Stonewall Kitchen (York, ME)
"We attend a lot of trade shows all over the world and Europe. We’re always looking for that person passionate about the brand and their own company. It’s hard to necessarily pick that out of a hat. The people you meet you just sense it when you see them."
Captain Mark Klopp - Owner, Portland Pilots (Portland, ME)
"It’s more than just driving ships in and out of the harbor. I’ve been here 20 years as a pilot in Portland. We’ve seen some of the worst weather during the nor’easter storms. We’ve been out here on the worst recorded weather on the East Coast. We’ve seen the nicest weather in the summer months, especially with cruise ships in pre-dawn hours. You see mother nature in its finest."
David Arnold - Port Facilitator, Soli DG (Portland, ME)
"My brother looped me into this. I actually started out as a therapist. It’s cool to be part of something that has a big impact on our state and region."
Dimitrijs Ivanovs - Chief Mate, EF AVA