Thomcord Grapes

Have you ever bought Welch’s Grape Juice? Then you have had concord grapes. They have an unique rich flavor all their own. During September and October you can find fresh concord grapes at some grocery stores and definitely at farmer’s markets. A lot of people might be turned off by the fact they these grapes have seeds, making out of hand eating more of a challenge. Most of us are use to eating seedless green, red, or black grapes. When we encounter a seeded grape, we don’t know what to do. Is there a way to have our cake (or grapes in this case) and eat it too? The Thomcord Grape has arrived to save the day.

What is the Difference Between Concord and Thomcord Grapes?

If you have been to a Kroger store or Trader Joe’s store in late July to early August you might have noticed some grapes called Thomcords. They look a lot like the Concord grape, in fact they are pretty hard to tell apart from the naked eye. The packaging claims these grapes have a Concord-like flavor. But how are they different from Concords? Thomcord grapes are a cross between a Thompson Seedless Grape – which is one of the popular green grape varieties – and a Concord. Don’t worry this is NOT some kind of crazy genetically modified grape. It was developed grape breeders working for the Agricultural Research Service in 1983. It wasn’t actually released to grow until 2003.

More Differences
Concords are considered slip skin grapes, which means the skin easily comes off when you bite into them. The Thomcord did not pick up this trait, rather the skin stays on more like it’s Thompson parent. As it comes to seeds, no grape is truly seedless, just the seeds are so undeveloped we can’t taste them. The Thomcord seeds I find to be bigger than a Thompson, but still small enough to be considered a seedless grape. One grower seems to have bigger seeds in their Thomcords to the point of which I didn’t like. The ones I have had from Trader Joe’s and Brandt Farms have never had that issue.

Another different of the Thomcord grape is the growing condition is favors. It likes hot, dry growing conditions just like it’s parent the Thompson. Concords prefer a more humid climate – which is why you don’t see true Concords grown much in California.

How to Use Thomcord Grapes
They are just excellent for out of hand eating. Use them as you would any in any Concord grape recipe. They will save you time since you don’t have to mess around with the seeds.

Where to Buy Thomcord Grapes?
Here are some places that I know sell Thomcords. Look for them the last half of July to the first half of August. I will add more locations if I find them.

Nationwide Locations
Kroger
Trader Joe’s

Confirmed Sightings
Michigan
Hiller’s (Ann Arbor, MI)
Kroger (Ypsilanti, MI & Ann Arbor, MI)

California
Safeway (Roseville, CA – Farmers Fresh Food Company)

Florida
Publix
Fresh Fields

New Jersey
Kings

Oklahoma
Homewood Stores

Texas
United Supermarkets

Utah
Harmons

Wisconsin
Brennans

Canada
Longos (Toronto)
Calgary Co-Op

Where Can I Buy a Thomcord Plant?
Want to grow your own Thomcord grapes? YOu can buy them through Stark Bros. I currently have two peaches tree growing in my front yard that I got from them.

Where to Buy Grapery’s Sweet Surrender Grapes in 2014?

in Fruit & Vegetables

Sweet Surrender Grapes

Tis the season for grapes! It’s not that long agao that for me grapes were grapes. There was nothing special about them, nothing seasonal, nothing to look forward to over any other time of year. But now I know better. I get excited for the late summer months, for when grapes of different sizes, shapes, and flavors will be invading my local stores. I am glad that people aren’t just settling for red, black, and green as their grape varieties and going for Champagne, Cotton Candy, Witch Finger, Thomcords, etc. A lot of the excitement about grapes has come from the amazing work being done at the Grapery. Their Cotton Candy grapes have made waves across the country. They aren’t the only thing their offering.

Sweet Surrender Grapes

What are Sweet Surrender Grapes?
Sweet Surrender grapes are an early season black grape. They are sweet with a plum like flavor. They may not be as unique as a Witch Finger or a Cotton Candy grape however they are the best tasting black grape I have ever found. That counts for something. They are available from about July 20th through Labor Day.

The Sweet Surrender grape is part of the Grapery’s Flavor Promise Line. Each Flavor Promise bag comes labeled with this commitment “My commitment is to grow and harvest the most delicious, flavorful grapes you’ll ever eat. Let me know what you think.”

Where to Buy Sweet Surrender Grapes in 2014
Below you will find a list of stores that will carry Grapery grapes in 2014. Check stores for availability. You may or may not be able to find each variety at every store. I purchased mine at Hiller’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan for $2.49/lb

Alabama
Publix
Rouses
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Alaska
None

Arizona
AJs
Sprouts
Sam’s Club

Arkansas
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

California
Sam’s Club
Sprouts
Raley’s
Gelson’s
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
Sequoia Sandwich Shop (Bakersfield, CA)
Sully’s (Bakersfield, CA)

Colorado
King Soopers
Sprouts

Connecticut
Fresh Direct
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods

Delaware
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Florida
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Georgia
Sprouts
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Hawaii
None

Idaho
Yokes Fresh Market
Pacific Coast Fruit Company

Illinois
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
Target
Treasure Island Foods
Hy-Vee
Niemanns

Indiana
Kroger
Schnucks
The Fresh Market

Iowa
Hy-Vee
Niemanns
Schnucks
Sam’s Club

Kansas
The Fresh Market
Sprouts
Hy-Vee
Sam’s Club

Kentucky
The Fresh Market

Louisiana
Rouses
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Maine
None

Maryland
Wegmans
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Massachusetts
Wegmans
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods

Michigan
The Produce Station (Ann Arbor, MI)
Kroger
Hiller’s
Busch’s

Minnesota
Lunds/Byerlys
H Brooks
Hy-Vee
Target

Mississippi
Rouses
Sam’s Club

Missouri
Hy-Vee
Niemanns
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Montana
None

Nebraska
Hy-Vee
Sam’s Club

Nevada
Sprouts
Raley’s

New Hampshire
The Fresh Market

New Jersey
Wegmans
Sonoma Produce
Baldor
The Fresh Market
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
TMK Produce (Distributor)

New Mexico
Sprouts
Sam’s Club

New York
Fresh Direct
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
Baldor
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Whole Foods

North Carolina
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

North Dakota
None

Ohio
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Oklahoma
Sprouts
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Oregon
Roth’s Fresh Markets
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
QFC

Pennsylvania
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Sonoma Produce
Sam’s Club
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Rhode Island
None

South Carolina
The Fresh Market
Publix

South Dakota
Hy-Vee

Tennessee
The Fresh Market
Publix
Sam’s Club

Texas
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club
Publix
Whole Foods
Green & Fresh
HEB

Utah
Sprouts

Vermont
None

Virginia
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Sam’s Club
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Washington
Town and Country Markets
Yoke’s Fresh Markets
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
QFC

West Virginia
None

Wisconsin
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
H Brooks

Wyoming
None

What Stores Sold Recalled Peaches? (2014)

in Fruit & Vegetables

Harrow Diamond Peaches

It seems every few months we are hearing about another food recall involving a potential listeria infection. The latest recall is on conventional and organic yellow and white peaches, yellow and white nectarines, plums, and pluots that were packed by Wawona Packing Co from June 1, 2014 through July 12, 2014, quite a wide window. Wawona is one of the large stone fruit packers and you can find their fruit all over the country. This is a mighty big recall.

The good news is that so far no one has been reported sick. Wawona is taking precautionary measures by recalling all of this fruit to hopefully prevent anyone from falling ill. According to a report in the Packer, a produce industry news source, 3 peaches that were exported to Australian tested positive for listeria. The amount was so small that it was not considered a risk to the public. However in the United States there is a zero tolerance policy in place, therefore any listeria in any level is grounds for a recall. A private lab did discover listeria on two peaches and one nectarine.

Value Added Products
Some stores used stone fruit from Wawona to make value added items – cut fruit salads, cakes, pies, tarts, etc. So if you have an item like this from any of the effected stores I will give them a call and see if they may have used Waona’s fruit in any of their value added products.

Here is a list of the stores that I know are affected by this recall. You can also check out this PDF from Wawona that will show you what the stickers look like toward the end of the file.

Whole Foods Market
They sold both organic and conventional stone fruit with the Sweet 2 Eat sticker on them. They also sell other stone fruit distributed by different companies, so not everything is recalled. It is a lot of their organic supply. Hard pressed to find organic peaches and nectarines currently at Whole Foods stores this week.

Kroger
I saw a sign posted at a Kroger store in Ypsilanti, Michigan mentioning the recall and they did sell some fruit with the Sweet 2 Eat labels.

Trader Joe’s
The recall for them includes both looses stone fruit as well as 3 bound boxes that had the Trader Joe’s name on the side but were from Wawona. The boxes look like the one in the photo below:

Honey Fire Nectarines

The Fresh Market
They have a notice up on their webpage. You can return the fruit to them for a full refund.

Other stores that received Wawona Packing Co stone fruit (this is by no means a complete list, just what I was able to find out, will add more if I find more):

Store States
BJ's Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Maine Maryland Massachusetts New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Pennsylvania Rhode Island Virginia
Costco Nationwide
Sam's Club Nationwide
Wegmans Food Markets New York Pennsylvania New Jersey Maryland Massachusetts Virginia
Dierbergs Missouri and Illinois
City Market's
King Soopers
Giant Food Stores
Martin's Food Stores
Aldi Nationwide
Hiller's Michigan
Ralphs
Food 4 Less

A Word About Organic
This recall effects both conventional and organic produce. This shows that just because something is organic doesn’t mean that is completely safe from these kinds of problems. When you have a large operation like Wawona runs you are more likely to have these kinds of outbreaks. I personally feel better about buying local from a small farm even if it’s not certified organic.

Where to Buy Witch Finger Grapes in 2014?

in Fruit & Vegetables

Witch Finger Grapes 2014

Ladies and gentlemen – it’s time! All grapes lovers get ready to run to your local store to pick up some of the world’s tastiest and unique grapes, offered by the Grapery – in my opinion the premier grape grower in the country. Their Witch Finger grapes are now beginning to pop up in stores across the country. These grapes are red in color, look like long fingers, and have an amazing crisp bite and flavor. The season runs from July 20th to September 20th. The actual harvest began on July 8th, 2014.

My Journey to Find Witch Finger in 2014
My own personal journey to seek out these grapes in 2014

Here in Michigan I have two potential sources – Kroger and Rocky Produce (which is a distribuitor out of Detroit, Michigan). They supplied the Hiller’s store I bought them at last season. I first checked on Friday, July 18th at Hillers – no grapes – but I did find these cool Saskatoon Berries. Monday, July 21st, I walked out of Kroger with some Salted Caramel Ice Cream and milk, but no grapes yet.

Witch Finger Grapes

Where to Buy Them

This page is your source for where to find these grapes. I will be updating with confirmed locations as the season progresses. I hope I can successfully guide to grape bliss! You will find a basic store listings below and where you see a particular city that is a location that has been confirmed to have them.

Store Listings by State

Alabama
Publix
Rouses
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Alaska
None

Arizona
AJs
Sprouts
Sam’s Club

Arkansas
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

California
Sam’s Club
Sprouts
Raley’s
Gelson’s
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
Sequoia Sandwich Shop (Bakersfield, CA)
Sully’s (Bakersfield, CA)

Colorado
King Soopers
Sprouts

Connecticut
Fresh Direct
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods

Delaware
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Florida
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Georgia
Sprouts
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Hawaii
None

Idaho
Yokes Fresh Market
Pacific Coast Fruit Company

Illinois
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
Target
Treasure Island Foods
Hy-Vee
Niemanns

Indiana
Kroger
Schnucks
The Fresh Market

Iowa
Hy-Vee
Niemanns
Schnucks
Sam’s Club

Kansas
The Fresh Market
Sprouts
Hy-Vee
Sam’s Club

Kentucky
The Fresh Market

Louisiana
Rouses
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Maine
None

Maryland
Wegmans
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Massachusetts
Wegmans
The Fresh Market
Whole Foods

Michigan
The Produce Station (Ann Arbor, MI)
Kroger

Minnesota
Lunds/Byerlys
H Brooks
Hy-Vee
Target

Mississippi
Rouses
Sam’s Club

Missouri
Hy-Vee
Niemanns
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Montana
None

Nebraska
Hy-Vee
Sam’s Club

Nevada
Sprouts
Raley’s

New Hampshire
The Fresh Market

New Jersey
Wegmans
Sonoma Produce
Baldor
The Fresh Market
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
TMK Produce (Distributor)

New Mexico
Sprouts
Sam’s Club

New York
Fresh Direct
Nathel & Nathel (Distributor)
Baldor
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Whole Foods

North Carolina
Publix
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

North Dakota
None

Ohio
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Oklahoma
Sprouts
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club

Oregon
Roth’s Fresh Markets
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
QFC

Pennsylvania
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Sonoma Produce
Sam’s Club
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Rhode Island
None

South Carolina
The Fresh Market
Publix

South Dakota
Hy-Vee

Tennessee
The Fresh Market
Publix
Sam’s Club

Texas
The Fresh Market
Sam’s Club
Publix
Whole Foods
Green & Fresh
HEB

Utah
Sprouts

Vermont
None

Virginia
The Fresh Market
Wegmans
Sam’s Club
TMK Produce (Distributor)

Washington
Town and Country Markets
Yoke’s Fresh Markets
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
QFC

West Virginia
None

Wisconsin
Schnucks
The Fresh Market
H Brooks

Wyoming
None

The Pea Project - My Gardening Blog

Featured On:

my foodgawker gallery