The first bite of a Cotton Candy grape is a revelation: just like the sugary carnival treat for which they’re named, these grapes have pronounced vanilla and burnt caramel flavors. The fun fruit is a hybrid of Concord and green grapes, created through cross breeding (and are non-GMO) by horticulturist David Cain and his team in Bakersfield, Calif.
The resulting flavor was not intentional, says Jim Beagle, CEO at Grapery, the Bakersfield company that grows and ships the grapes.
Grapery introduced the Cotton Candy grape to the East Coast over five years ago. “The flavor has become even more pronounced and consistent over the years,” says Beagle. He explains that since the grapes are hand-harvested and the workers have also gained experience in choosing ones that have reached their peak, current yields have the most intense flavor.
The seasonal treat has a short growing season; you can expect Grapery’s Cotton Candy grapes to arrive in stores in mid-August and last until October. You might encounter Cotton Candy grapes from Mexico, Chile, and other countries during the year, but the ones from California appear freshest, since they reach us within days after picking.
What if you’re disappointed when they’re gone? In that case, there are always Grapery’s super sweet Moon Drops; novel, elongated, blackish-purple grapes with a dimple at the end and which resemble tiny eggplants, and Gum Drop grapes that taste just like grape soda or fruity gummies — both appear in stores until early November. No doubt, each of these varieties will produce a smile (about $3.99 a pound).
Available at Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, 781-862-3900; Idylwilde Farm, 366 Central St., Acton, 978-263-5943; and selected Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, Star Market and Roche Bros. locations.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.