If you are a person dedicated to buying as much organic produce as you can, you might wonder why you can't always buy organic grapes. Much organic produce can be had year round - berries, bananas, broccoli, avocados, potatoes, etc. Yet a big chunk of the year organic grapes are not available. This post is created to guide you to when you can find them so that you don't go to the store disappointed.
Why Can't You Find Organic Grapes Year Round
A lot of people can't understand why they go to the store and can't find organic grapes. They blame the store for not getting them. The issue is not with any store. The reason you can't find them year round is that there just aren't a lot of grapes that are grown organically that are imported into the United States. Grapes are not a crop that we can produce in the U.S. throughout the entire year. Even with the best cold storage technology, supplies of U.S. grapes run out around the beginning of the new calendar year. In order to have grapes in our stores year round, we must import. Issue is that there simply is not a lot of organic grapes that are grown and imported into the U.S. I have seen them on occasion but not often until the Mexico season begins.
When are Organic Grapes in Season?
Generally speaking organic grapes usually start making their presence known around mid-May. You might catch them earlier. Whole Foods Market gets Organic Whole Trade grapes from Mexico. In past years I have seen them as early as in April. In 2017, I didn't see them until near the latter part of May. For most grocery stores you will have to wait until the California organic grape season begins at the end of May.
Supplies will be limited in the beginning as with most fruit when it comes into season. Prices are generally higher as well. Organic grapes are in season until right around Christmas time.
How Grape Supplies are Extended
When you head into the grocery store most of the time you are just give the choice between red, green, and sometimes black grapes. Those are not just the 3 varieties choices you have. Each color has numerous varieties that come out during the year. That is why the grapes you buy during one shopping trip can taste different than the grapes you buy a couple weeks later.
Let's take a look at Anthony's Organic grapes. I visited their website and they have a calendar of when their different varieties come out. I took and cropped a screenshot below.
As you can see that have several varieties of each color available throughout the season. The earlier ripening varieties start in May and the later varieties are available in stores until December. I have seen Anthony's Organic grapes at Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Meijer, and Costco. They are available at many other stores as well across the country. Let me know in comments below if you have spotted them.
Here is a video that talks more about Anthony's Vineyard.
3 Tips for Buying Organic Grapes
Here are things to look for when buying organic grapes (this principles apply to buying any type of grapes).
1. Bloom on the fruit. If you see a white colored film on the fruit this is the fruit's natural screen screen. It rubs off really easily. If you see it on the fruit that means you have fresh grapes that haven't been handled to much and buy them up in a flash! Even if you don't see it that doesn't mean the grapes still won't be good or last. This is a way of picking the cream of the crop.
2. Look for shatter in the bag. Shatter is an industrial term to describe how many of the grapes come off the vines. The more this happen, the more likely the grapes are going to go bad faster. The grapes at the bottom of the bag are often no good - so why should you pay for them. What you can do is remove bunches from the bag they come in and put them into a plastic produce bag. The cashier can still ring them up by their PLU code. Some employee might give you a dirty look but oh well! I have worked in retail produce for years and I support customers doing this.
3. Taste a grape. You shouldn't buy something you are not going to like. Again dirty looks may come your way, but I believe that you should be able to taste before you buy and any store worth shopping at should have no problem with this. You can always ask an employee if you are uncomfortable before trying. Just don't turn your sampling into a buffet.