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It’s scuppernong season!

A recent article on the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program Facebook page reminded me that I haven’t written about our fragrant, delicious native grapes in years. Scuppernongs were a treat when I was a child, and when Jim and I first got married, I can remember picking them off the vines where they grew in profusion around his hometown in central North Carolina.

The big, round, juicy grapes have tough skin with an iridescent sheen, crunchy seeds, and a unique fragrance and flavor, sweet like Concord grapes, but wilder and more enticing and mysterious.

Scuppernongs often are found growing wild, and were used by Native Americans as a food source for hundreds of years. Spanish settlers in Florida in the 1600s made wine from the plentiful grapes. The original “Scuppernong”’ was found before 1760 in Tyrell County, North Carolina. Eventually, all bronze-colored, native grapes became known as scuppernongs, which is incorrect because “Scuppernong” is only one variety ...

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