Sunday, May 7, 2017

United States history of Concord grapes

New England is the birthplace of the Concord grape. This grape variety is widely produced domestically in the cooler climates of the northern United States, with Washington State producing the largest quantity of Concord grapes.

First bred by Ephraim Wales Bull, whose occupation was goldbeating, making gold leaf out of gold, and whose avocation was gardening.

In 1840, he moved from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts where he would have more land to pursue his hobby. It grew from a seed planted in 1843, which bore fruit in 1849. According to him, some boys brought wild grape up from the river and scattered them around his property. A seedling appeared which he tended and when it fruited he planted seed from it.
Prior to the appearance of the Concord, grape growing in Eastern American had limited success. Bull planted some 22,000 seedlings before he had produced the grape that would own the jelly market his cutting eventually garnering him a tidy $1,000 apiece.

By 1869, the Concord grape found its way into the hands of Dr. Thomas Welch, who figured out that through pasteurization, he could eliminate the fermentation that turned the grapes into wine, and thereby successfully turn the grapes into a juice.

In 1893 Welch’s son, Dr. Charles E. Welch, offered samples of his family’s grape juice to visitors at the Chicago World’s Fair. The younger Welch continued to market grape juice as a temperate alternative to alcohol. Today US grape farmers harvest more Concord grapes than all other varieties combined.
United States history of Concord grapes
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