Concord grape season

concord grapes in bag samascott

Very... grape.

We were at Samascott Orchards this past weekend stocking up on apples when we noticed they also had concord grapes available for pick-your-own. We walked over to rows of vines and that's when it hit us: the strong aroma of grape -- and not just grape, but grape.

concord grapes on vine samascottConcord grapes rarely seem to be eaten fresh -- maybe because of the seeds -- but you've almost certainly had them as grape juice (about 90 percent end up as juice) or classic peanut-and-jelly grape jelly. They also are the basis for the "grape" flavor in candy and other somewhat-less-than-naturally-flavored foods.

And that's kind of what's remarkable about Concord grapes: they taste so grape-y, that they almost taste unnatural. (It probably says something that we live in a cultural where our baseline reference for a flavor is not the flavor itself but some artificial representation of it.) But instead of the flat grape note in a gum or candy, this is like someone playing a grape chord. It's delicious.

Concord grapes are a very local food, in the sense that they originated in this part of the United States. They were first cultivated in Concord, Massachusetts in 1849 from wile grape vines that grew in New England, selected for their ability to ripen early before the northeastern frost (apparently European varieties struggled in the climate here). The man who cultivated the grapes -- Ephraim Wales Bull -- didn't end making much money from the variety, a fact noted in his epitaph: "He sowed others reaped."

One of the biggest Concord grape growing areas is now in western New York -- and Westfield, New York calls itself the "grape juice capital of the world". (Charles Welch -- yep, that's Welch -- built a grape juice factory there in 1897.)

Anyway, we're now in Concord grape season. If you keep an eye out, you'll see them sometimes at farm stands around the area (also at the supermarket). And you can pick your own at Samascott ($2 a pound). There are probably a few other local places you can do that -- if you know of any, please share.


These are one of the true delights of fall. Those green and red things in the supermarket only superficially resemble an actual grape; these are the real deal. Even better if you know where to find them wild.

I really, REALLY need to get a food mill, don't I? I look at these, and all I can think is "jelly, I must make jelly."

Concord grapes also make excellent grape pies!

@KB skip the food mill and make concord grape jam. The skins get processed and used in the jam. It's incredible. Best jam ever.


Where can I buy or pick bulk concord grapes needed for my wife to make jelly.

In Fairfield, Ct. will drive 75 miles to get,

Any suggesstions??? Please advise.

And, thanks.

Where can I buy concord grapes? I remember may grandmother with grape veins in the yard. I really loved them. I am in Ma. does anyone ship them? Or are they sold in supermarkets Please comment on this. Thank you

@ Susan -- Try calling Ryan's vegetable market on Railroad Ave. in Colonie. I've heard they get in lots of grapes for people who make their own wine. Not sure what variety of grapes they get in.

These things grow all over my yard in Troy. I keep trying to get rid of them because they are trying to grow on my garage roof and part of my house, but they are persistent.

You can make jelly and leave the skins on. Boil the grapes whole with a little water and you basically get grape juice. That's the beginning of making the jelly. You strain out the skins and seeds with cheesecloth and then boil again with sugar. I believe the skins contain the pectin that helps gel the jelly. My kids and I go to Samascott every year and they used to call the grapes 'jello grapes' because the pulp inside is kind of jello-ish.

I would like to find a place to pick concord grapes in Western MA.
Thank you.

go to to find pick your own fruits, veggies,etc farms in your own state/area!

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