Monday, August 30, 2010

Farmer's Market Grapes

So, we all know about tomatoes, right? The conventional grocery store ones look beautiful but are like bitter flavorless card board. Whereas tomatoes grown at home or from a local farmer retain this x factor of deliciousness that is addicting, and likely to make you a FM convert like myself. Everyone knew this about tomatoes, no?

Well did you know about grapes? Maybe it is not that commonly known because grapes come in at the end of the summer through fall, just when some of the FM staples like greens and tomatoes and basil are coming to a close. Many FMs are only open from May-August. I also think that because grapes require cool weather and sandy soil they just don't work everywhere. So this might be a truly regional delight as opposed to a cultural staple.

I bought grapes from the Union Square Farmer's market that were grown at The Cheerful Cherry from Hector, NY.
They were the most amazing grapes I have ever tasted. They tasted a little like concord grapes, but sweeter and with a thin palatable skin. You also could tell the wine notes, which sounds dumb, but when was the last time you bought grocery store grapes that tasted like wine you would like to drink? Ironically my co-workers and I agreed that they tasted a little like grape soda. Hahaha! Home grown grapes are so far removed from the American garden that my generation doesn't know that grape flavored soda is meant to emulate these babies, not the kind available in most grocery stores.
I loved them so much I shared them with my entire office. Later on that afternoon I went back to the farmer's market with a friend in tow and we bought more off the same guy. This one was a real game changer. I am not sure I can fake it at the grocery store any more.

1 comment:

  1. The vast majority (if not all) of the grocery store grapes I see here in CT are shipped from Peru and Chile. You're right, they have very little flavor compared with home grown grapes.

    My grandfather had a grape arbor when I was a kid and I'll never forget the floral flavor of the grapes he grew (one variety of red and one variety of purple that was so dark the fruit almost looked black). The arbor was a great place to play because it was so cool and shady under the vines. Once the grapes started to ripen, the bees would swarm around the fruit and I'd have to hunt for another place to play. Juice would start dripping from the grapes and that's when my grandparents would pick them. Our hands and faces would be sticky from eating the first batch to come into the kitchen.

    I don't buy supermarket grapes at all but I would if I found locally sourced grapes. Fruit shipped from NJ, NY, or PA would even be OK but I've only seen that once when our large chain supermarket had "champagne" grapes from NJ. The thought of eating fruit that rode thousands of miles on an airplane to get to my plate just completely kills my appetite for them. I just don't need grapes that badly. I can get Concord grapes in the fall from an orchard a couple of miles from my home. They're not as good as my grandfather's sweet floral grapes, though! And here's where I'm a bit of a fruit hypocrite, I eat imported bananas all the time. I guess I'm OK with that because they travel here by boat.