NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — Springtime in Maine holds a window of opportunity for one of the region's most prized delicacies: fiddleheads.
These whimsically named plants are sprouting ostrich ferns that are harvested right before they uncurl to full length.
They are harvested this early in the season as this is the stage they're most edible, as long as you cook them.
"They grow in the lowlands down by the riverbanks so where it floods, the fiddleheads, what they like is the silt from the river when it floods," Neil Reynolds, a tour guide with Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, said. "The nutrients that flow are nature's fertilizer for them."
For $45, Pineland Farms takes tourists on a 4-mile loop hike to find fiddleheads. But in general, fiddleheads are getting more expensive.
When NEWS CENTER Maine reported on fiddleheads two years ago, fiddleheads ran just a few bucks per pound.
Now they cost anywhere from $15 to $30 per pound.
"It's a lot. It is a lot. I've seen them of $10 or $12, but $22 is high," Reynolds said.
Reynolds added fuel prices and high demand, like many factors squeezing industries nationwide, may be to blame.
But for now, tourists can still go on these tours and take home a quart of fiddleheads.
"It was successful on both accounts," William Joson, who went on a fiddlehead tour, said. "Now I have a nice collection to take home and sample this afternoon."
"I'm not from Maine, so I've been looking for something that's the quintessential Maine experience," Meg Terrio, also on the fiddlehead tour, said.
To find out more about fiddlehead tours at Pineland Farms, you can schedule for a morning or evening session here.