These grapes may look the same on the outside but find out what makes a Concord grape and a Thomcord grape different.
Read our review and find out which is the better table grape? And can you make jelly with either?
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 in places like Michigan and New York (they even have a concord grape museum there!)
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's the Difference
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 untrained eye.
The packaging typically 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.
Another difference of the Thomcord 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, but you do see Thomcords coming from there.
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. Once before I had some Thomcords that did have noticeable seeds (still very immature) that I did not like at all. Most of the time you shouldn't notice the.
📋 Thomcord Review
👅 Taste - Thomcord flavor is very similar to Concord, but it's not as intense.
People have are use to eating Concord grapes are typically disappointed. People that don't and only eat seedless grapes are more likely to be a fan of the Thomcord. It has way more flavor than most grocery store grapes.
I enjoy them and they are one of my daugther's favorite varieties.
Aim to get them when they are most fresh in July or August. If you find them in September, I often find those are too soft and pass their peak, unless you are getting them from a local source.
Do I recommend buying Thomcord grapes? - 👍 YES! For out of hand eating as a table grape.
🖐️ How to Use Thomcord Grapes
They are just excellent for out of hand eating. A great table grape.
As for recipes, the flavor is going to be as good as with a Concord. But if the seed thing is a big issue for you, discouraging you from using them in recipes, then by all means give Thomcords a try and see what you think.
🙋 Why are Concord Hard to Find
Unless you live close to an area that grows Concord grapes, you are going to have a hard time finding them.
I am not 100% sure. But my guess would be that there isn't a big demand for a fresh seeded grape. Since they aren't really grown in California, the nation's leader grape producer, they are coming from smaller operations that probably can't support shipping nationwide.
Even if you live near an area that grows them, most grocery stores don't typically carry them. You may find a few select ones that do. The farmer's market or going directly to a farm is going to be your best choice.
I live in Michigan and I have no problem finding them in September at various farmer's markets.
🛒 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.
- Trader Joe's
- Whole Foods Market
- Homewood Stores
- United Supermarkets
🌱 Grapevines for Sale
Want to grow your own Thomcord grapes? You can buy them through Stark Bros.
🍇 More Grape Varieties Try
Here are some other grape varieties you gotta try.
- Cotton Candy
- Tear Drops
- Candy Snaps
- Sable Seedess
- Moon Drops or Sweet Sapphire
- Grapery Limited
- Gum Drops
📧 Join Our Email List
If you are a grape fan you have to sign up for our Cotton Candy grape email list. While the list is focused on Cotton Candy grape availability, we also share when many of the other great tasting varieties like Thomcord are available.
Do you eat the skins or pop them out like Concord?
Go ahead and eat the skins!
Flutist Walter Bell
As a first time Tomcord consumer,I didn't know what to expect. We had a concord grape vine in our backyard in Philly that my grandfather planted ( I understand that it's still there) so we always had the grapes, jellies,wines,etc. We were taught as kids how to eat them to avoid tasting the seeds. I always wondered why no one came up with seedless concords as they're so good but I must say that Tomcord has a product that does just that. As a lifelong concord grape eater,this is the best idea to that end. Congrats,you made a fan out of me....!
I just picked up a package of these at Trader Joe's the other day, had never heard of them before - sadly, the seeds were very noticeable, and actually harder to discard than a straight Concord! I also really missed the tartness of the Concord. I'll have to skip these in the future, but crossing my fingers that the real Concords will still be sold during those few special autumn weeks...
That's weird, I never had any of the Thomcords that had noticeable seeds.
I totally get wanting to have the more tart flavor of the Concord.
ive tasted thomcords and i dont think they have the concord flavor at all
🙁 i wish concords were more widely available
I recently brought some Thomcord Grapes I am a natural food person. I make my own grape juice. Alone they were sweet. However I added some arena Berrys because I am a diabetic. It turned out pretty good. I suggest you don't strain the grapes to insure the nutrients.