Friday, October 2, 2009


Just a few days after discovering that there is a native American grape with more bona fides than the Concord (hailing from the 19th century and fruit of the efforts of Ephraim Wales Bull), and consequently one that I want to include in the new park's design - to hide the ugly chainlink that will be at one corner - I walked into Wholefoods and found...scuppernongs!


Vitis, in short, rotundifolia.

Said native American grape.

So I bought a box and ate them all in one go.

It's research.

Apparently only the green ones are called scuppernongs. The black ones are called muscadines. Though the scuppernong may be a sub-category of muscadine. Hm.

About the same diameter as a quarter (a 25c coin to some of you), pale green with bronze spots, they're funny-looking things. The skin is tough, so I took to slicing off their tops and sucking their insides out. It was a noisy half hour. The taste is reminiscent of Catawbas or Concord, the pulp much firmer, all of a piece, with a pleasantly tart kick. I liked them.

And cannot wait to plant them.


  1. Oh wow, I've never had a muscadine before but have seen them on TV. I hear their seeds are packed with anti-oxidants. Are they hardy enough for the NYC climate? For some reason, I always associate them with the South. If they are, I would love to grow them myself.

  2. Thomas - they're said to be cold hardy to 0'F when they keel over and expire. I aim to gamble a little :-)

    Frank, dead, dead, all dead!

  3. What a wonderful word! I had to Google it and Wiki tells me it's from the Scuppernong River, NC.
    Whatever! I still think it's wonderful word. As in, perhaps, you silly little scuppernong. Like petit chou.

  4. and--if I remember aright--Thomas Jefferson made scuppernong wine as an expression of some kind of patriotism. (had it made, I expect. I doubt he did the planting/plucking/pressing/bottling with his own patrician hands [[snort, snort]])

    They might make it NY with the same kind of overwintering protection as figs.

  5. I planted a cutting of a scuppernong roughly 12 years ago in Alabama. Today I picked about 6 gallons and haven't put a dent in them. With all the rain we've had this season in the South I thought they wouldn't be as large and sweet as usual. To my surprise, they're larger than ever. The one planting is roughly 40 feet in both directions. And on a 5' chain link fence. They make great jelly and wine!


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