As you know we opened for U-Pick on Sunday, September 15th. We were surprised at how many of our customers came out the first week. Even on Sunday, with the rain, many of your came out to enjoy the day or pick your grapes. Thank you for your loyalty.
The season continues to be late this year. The large commercial processors are not picking grapes yet. I understand the processing plant will begin processing Concord grapes around the first of October. We do not machine pick any of our grapes so this does not effect us. However their schedule provides some insight into how the season is progressing across the Concord grape belt in general. Starting the 21 to 28 day harvest of Concord grapes in October is a very late season.
Here is the current status of our grapes:
Concords: We still have many Concords. They still are not fully ripe, but have good flavor and are excellent for Jelly. Many of our customers are picking them for juice as well. I believe they would be better in a week from now for juice and for wine and would be best if picked even later. A problem with waiting too long is that our customers (you ) do pick all of our grapes before the Concord season is over.
Niagara: A lot of you have expressed interest in the Niagara grape. Ten days ago we were loaded with these white grapes. Today there are only a few left. Before Saturday they will be totally sold out. If you are coming from some distance for Niagara, you should call before coming.
Mars: Mars is nearly sold out as well. It took a few years before our customers developed an interest in these grapes. This year, there has been a lot of interest. They are now petty well picked over. Mars are netted to keep the birds out. We plan to remove the nets later this week, which will make it easier to find the few grapes that are left.
Catawba: Catawba are very late this year. Many clusters have not even begun to change color yet. Some of our younger vines may be ready by Mid October. I would expect some of these Catawba will not be ripe before early November, if they make it at all.
Red Seedless: There is a heavy crop on vines of low vigor. I am not sure these grapes will ripen. We are watching them with hope.
White Seedless: The stem that holds the grape cluster together is called the bunchstem and the stem of the individual grape berry is the pedicel. The bunchstem has died on most of our white seedless grapes. This means the individual berries will not ripen any more than they are. I would call these grapes in “poor condition”. Some of them taste petty good, others do not. We are offering these grapes at a discount of 20 cents per pound. These grapes are under netting also, because the birds love them.
-John & Rita Linehan