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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, AUG. 23, 2007

CONTACT: John Snipes, Marketing Specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
(919) 733-7887, ext. 236
MEDIA RESOURCES :

NC Muscadine Press Kit (pdf)
NC Muscadine Grape brochure (pdf)

It’s Muscadine time!

RALEIGH – Add some exotic flavor to your summertime menu: the North Carolina Muscadine grape. Tickle your taste buds with fresh grapes from a local market or roadside stand. Surprise your dinner guests with a glass of refreshing Muscadine wine or a dessert of grape hull pie.

The Muscadine, now widely cultivated on North Carolina farms, is native to the Southern United States. The harvest season for them in North Carolina generally peaks from late August through September, bringing a sweet conclusion to summer.

“Research points to a variety of health benefits associated with this grape,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “That’s great news for those of us who love fresh, North Carolina Muscadines and eagerly await their arrival.”

Early North Carolina settlers found the “Mother Vine” of this secret treasure on Roanoke Island. It was home to the Scuppernong variety, large bronze grapes with thick skins. They were growing in loose clusters of eight to 10 grapes and averaging about 1½ inches in size, encasing rich antioxidants in their outer cover. When ripe, the Scuppernong exudes a sweet and distinctly musky taste. The grapes create a delectable flavor in wines popular throughout the South.

Confusion exists about the difference between the Scuppernong and the Muscadine. A popular saying is, “All Scuppernongs are Muscadines, but not all Muscadines are Scuppernongs.” There are now numerous varieties of Muscadines for fresh eating and other products. They tend to vary in appearance, depending on the type, and range in hue from bronze to black. So, to be accurate, it is better to use the term Muscadine when the species is unknown.

The Scuppernong was the first grape cultivated in America and the history of this twisted vine dates back 400 years ago when Florentine navigator Giovanni de Verrazzano first recorded its existence in 1524. Today the Scuppernong and its kin enjoy popularity in North Carolina grocery stores, roadside stands and farmers’ markets, which take pride in promoting North Carolina offerings. Several Muscadine vineyards sell their fresh grapes but also showcase their wines at festivals throughout the year.

Many find Muscadines good for making jams, jellies or any dish calling for grapes. Others find them to be a healthy addition to their diets. Not only are these grapes delicious and versatile, but they also contain high levels of antioxidants and significant amounts of resveratrol, which is helpful in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and fighting heart disease. In fact, Muscadines have been touted by the medical community as a formidable ally against carcinogenic agents, as well. These are fine attributes for the official state fruit of North Carolina and what some proclaim “Nature’s healthiest grape.”

If your interest is now piqued to try this unusual and healthy North Carolina nutritional gem, a list of local sources can be found by visiting: www.ncfarmfresh.com or call (919) 733-7887, ext. 236 for a free brochure.

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NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 733-4216; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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