Thursday, October 11, 2007


Nope, not the town, although it is lovely. I'm talking grapes. The Concord grape was actually developed in Concord, by one Ephraim Wales Bull. He planted seeds on his farm, located next to Bronson Alcott's farm, from the wild grape varietal Vitis labrusca. In 1843, he started evaluating his seedlings. Over 20,000 seedlings and six years later, he settled on the perfect one. That vine still grows at his former home. Bull never saw much profit from his grapes after selling the vines for $5 a piece to competing growers.

One Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, a New Jersey dentist, developed and pasteurized the first Concord grape juice, in 1869, to be used in communion in his church. And of course, peanut butter and jelly wouldn't be peanut butter and jelly without Concord Grape Jelly.

But it's as a table grape that it really shines. Yes, they have seeds. So what? Have you ever eaten a Concord grape? They are one of the few types of produce that is truly seasonal. You can buy red or green grapes year round. Apples, even, get imported from New Zealand (New Zealand!!) or shipped in from Washington, but a Concord grape is only around for a month or so. We're nearing the end of the season now.

Oh, they're good. They pop in your mouth, the skin, a bit thick, pulling away from the tangy sweetness of the pulp inside. Mmm. Go down to your local market now and buy some. Come February, when you're picking over strawberries that look like styrofoam and wincing at the $3 a pound apples, you'll remember those grapes and smile, looking forward to next September and October, when you can indulge once again.

'scuse me. I have to run to Stop & Shop and get some more, before somebody else hogs 'em all up. Better wash my purple fingers first....


Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've NEVER had one of these and have never even seen them for sale near me! I'm going on a hunt this weekend, before the season is over.

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Yes, I have eaten a Concord grape or two or a hundred!

Hmmmmmmmmmmm good!

Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

Kate said...

Oh, my dear grapey goodness, I can go through a carton of those babies in about a day and a half.

And no one else in my family has developed quite the proper eat-and-spit method, which leaves more for me.

Life As I Know It said...

I just saw these in the grocery store and almost bought some. I've never had them! After reading this, I'll try them out the next time I'm at the store.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I love those things. I don't love the idea of them right now, but normally I love concord grapes.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Holy flashback to my childhood. Memories of my best friend's backyard, full of the fragrant vines, our purple-stained hands not able to shove the moist plump tangy treats into our little mouths fast enough.
Kate, I have the eat-and-spit method PERFECTED.