Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like Grandma Used to Grow

Johnnycakes and I picked up this "superfruit" from the Reid's Orchard Stand at the Farmers Market this morning. I read that grapes, while uncommonly common, are actually considered a "superfruit" because of all the antioxidants and nutrients they contain.

I was actually intrigued by these local garden variety grapes because they reminded me of my grandmother. My "Nonna", who passed away some years ago, used to grow grapes at her suburban Baltimore home. My Italian grandparents recreated their homeland by growing grapes on overhead vines and on various racks and trellises throughout their property all inside the Baltimore beltway. In addition to grapes, they also had a plum tree, peach tree, a rather large vegetable garden and they raised chickens for eating.

We used to visit my grandparents and many cousins every Sunday night. In the summertime, my sisters I would always ask if the grapes were ready. "Are the grapes ready, yet" would be our mantra as Summer progressed. It seemed we could never eat enough of the grapes once they arrived.

I don't know what kind or variety they were. All I know is that they were "slipskin" grapes like these which meant you couldn't eat the skin. You had to spit the skin out and swallow the "meat" whole. Nonna's grapes were sweeter and had a more blue appearance than the ones I picked up today. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandparents somehow brought the variety from Italy since there is an old "fig tree" story in my family that goes something like that.

I'm not sure what you would call them. I don't recall seeing a sign at the stand, which usually labels all of the fruit varieties. I would call them Concord grapes but I'm probably wrong. Are there any Viticulture experts out there that could help with this?

Regardless, I plan to enjoy these "superfruits" and reminisce about my childhood summers running through the grapevines and playing with my cousins and, of course, gorging on grapes!


Kelly Mahoney said...

The color is quite fantastic on these grapes, I thought they may be blueberries at first!

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