FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, AUG. 23, 2007
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)
ext. 236 for a free brochure.