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June 27, 2006

Thomcord Grapes: Faux Fruit — or Fabuloso?


Well, you'll be the judge, won't you, when this new hybrid grape (above) arrives in your supermarket's produce department sometime during the next few years.

It's a cross between a Concord grape (purple, with seeds and a distinct flavor) and a Thompson grape (green, seedless and neutral in flavor).

What horticulturalist David W. Ramming — leader of the grape breeding studies group at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, part of the Agricultural Research Service — got during his initial experiments in the 1980s was a mish-mash: some grapes were white with Concord flavor, some were purple without flavor, some had seeds and some were seedless.

But one was special: it was purple, had Concord flavor and no seeds.

Ramming called it A29-67 (catchy, what?) and played with it for 17 years, fine-tuning it until the fruit was reliably delicious, firm and easy enough to harvest to make it commercially competitive.

He succeeded.

According to Guy Gugliotta's item in the June 19 Washington Post "Science Notebook," Thomcords "are a staple of Central Valley [California] farmer's markets and should soon be in California supermarkets."

Ramming's work was reported on June 16 by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

June 27, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Does anyon know of a source that is selling or distributing the Thomcord?

Posted by: Rebecca | Jul 19, 2006 12:16:42 PM

What ever happened to grapes with pips anyway? Till about ten years ago we used to be able to get gorgeous fat yellow grapes - Italia, I think they were called. They were sweet and juicy and had a long lasting flavour that was similar to a German white wine. Nice in a fruit (though a bit much in a glass) but apparently no one will buy grapes with pips any more.
Bother - I liked them.

Posted by: Skipweasel | Jun 29, 2006 9:15:14 AM

I would like this, especially the texture of the dusk purple skins.

Posted by: Mb | Jun 27, 2006 8:52:41 PM

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