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Sam's Club Brought Back Cotton Candy® Grapes AND Moon Drop® Grapes

They're in stores for a VERY limited time.

By: Madison Flager | Sept 28, 2018

Cotton Candy® is one of those foods you rarely actually eat. If you're not at a carnival, there's not really an excuse to add hand-spun sugar into your day. But cotton candy grapes? That's something we can all happily add to our grocery lists without feeling like we're cheating the grown-up game.

If you missed out on the grapes last year, I have good news for you: They are back at Sam's Club! The green grapes are super sweet and juicy, and sadly, won't be around for long-the big box store expects to have them through mid-October (the growing season runs from August 10 to September 20).

Sam's also brought back Moon Drop ® grapes, teardrop-shaped, dark purple grapes that look a little bit like a tiny eggplant. Their dark color makes them perfect for Halloween, so get your cheese plates ready...and stock up on cheddar for a full orange-and-black effect. These will be available at Sam's Club through the end of October.

Both fruits are grown by The Grapery in Bakersfield, California, which produces Gum Drop and Tear Drop grapes, too. Wondering how they're made?

"We start with IFG grape varietals that have been developed over years of natural cross-breeding, then we raise them in fields cultivated under ideal growing conditions," The Grapery's website says.

"Finally, we let our table grapes mature on the vine until they have reached their perfect flavor-whenever that may be-before harvesting them."

Cotton Candy® grapes that taste like fairy floss now in Australian supermarkets

By: Mary Kate Paquette | Aug 05, 2018

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - For the third year, International Fruit Genetics partnered with the Kern County chapter of California Rare Fruit Growers to host a tour for the public through IFG's vineyards.

"We have been breeding for different flavors and different textures, like very crunchy grapes that people like," general manager of IFG Dr. David Cain said. "They each have a little different flavor. People describe them as having strawberry, or mango, or papaya or lychee flavors."

Since 2001 Cain has lead IFG in the development of new and unique flavors, like its signature Cotton Candy® grape.

"I think it offers a broader array of different quality fruit to the consumer," Cain said.

IFG grapes are in 14 countries.

To date 36 new flavors have been developed, including Candy Snaps, Sweet Sapphire and Sweet Jubilee. There are several more flavors in the works, according to Cain.

"It's kind of like fishing or something," Cain said. "You never know what you are going to get, when you're going to find the really fantastic one. My favorite one right now is, I like the Candy Snaps."

The tour included a brief look at the lab, followed by a walk through the vineyards where attendees were allowed to taste different grapes and even take some home.

"I think it's fun to taste the different variates and see what industry is looking for and going into the future how each variety differs from where they are shooting to sell it," attendee Allie Cushnyr said.

IFG grapes are sold at many large grocery stores including Albertsons, Walmart and Costco. They can also be found at Sully's Chevron stations and Sweet Surrender.

OMG! Have you tried these Cotton Candy® Grapes!?!?!

By Patrick May | | Bay Area News Group

Be careful the next time you're at your nearby Trader Joe's or Whole Foods - you could get run over by the Cotton Candy® Grapes gang.

These wildly popular orbs, created by fruit geneticist David Cain at International Fruit Genetics and first sold to consumers in 2011, have become a runaway hit with foodies across America. They were created by hybridizing two different grape species, combining Concord grapes, known for their flavor, with vitis vineferia, which helps make them firm

Their unique flavor - close your eyes and you're at the county fair! - has spawned so many rabid fans that when the grapes are in season, like right now, their arrival is met with the sort of irrational exuberance that greets the annual release of the latest vintage of Beaujolais nouveau on the third Thursday in November.

Cotton Candy® grapes are now produced in California by Grapery, founded in 1996 by UC Davis alum Jack Pandol and owned by him and Jim Beagle.

Cotton Candy® Grapes Hit Trader Joe's Just In Time For Summer

By ByLia Beck | June 25, 2018

The taste of cotton candy paired with the texture of a grape might not be for everyone, but if you are one of the many people intrigued by this flavorful marvel (or just want to trick your friends or impress the children in your life), you'll be pleased to know that cotton candy grapes have hit Trader Joe's to kickstart summer, as reported by Delish. Yep, you can now enjoy the slimy center of a grape but have it taste like something that should be light and fluffy, if you're a Trader Joe's shopper. Sounds... well, interesting at the very least.

Delish points to an Instagram account, @realhousewifeofsanjose, that posted a photo of the grapes along with a caption that notes how they really do taste like cotton candy and how they're a "#traderjoesfind." The grapes also popped up on the @traderjoeslist account with the caption, "THEY'RE BACK! What a blessing, I got the last box!! How do they do it?! Can't they make wine out of these?! IMAGINE." The photo shows that they are only in stores for a limited time and that they cost $7.99 for two pounds. A small price to pay for being able to say to everyone in your life, "Have you tried cotton candy grapes? OMG, let me tell you..."

Cotton Candy® grapes are nothing new - Real Simple reports that the grapes have been around since 2011, and they went viral last summer - but because they aren't available during all seasons of the year, fans are definitely getting excited over them. According to Grapery, which developed the grapes, the cotton candy flavor was found through cross-pollination of different varieties. And, in good news for cotton candy grape fans, while Grapery lists that the fruit is available between August 10 and September 20 (very specific!), Divine Flavor, which is the brand behind the grapes currently being sold at Trader Joe's, says their grapes are available in May and June. Hooray! And, I guess, save some for July?

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Cotton Candy® Grapes Are Now Sold At Costco, So You Can Stock Up For The Summer

By Madison Flager | Jun 15, 2018

Good news for anyone who likes their fruit disguised as candy: Cotton Candy® grape season now lasts nearly all summer long. Grapery - the California company that introduced us to candy-flavored grapes back in 2015 - will sells the variety from August 10 to September 20, while Divine Flavor, a family-run business with operations in California, Arizona, and Texas, has 'em in May and June.

In case you missed the boat on these, they're seedless green grapes that taste just like the hand-spun sugar you'd find at a carnival. They're made by cross-breeding different types of grapes, and only come around in the summer.

Thankfully, both brands can be found in bulk stores, so that pesky month in July where they may not be in stores is basically moot. Frozen grapes that taste like carnival food?

Last year, Grapery's cotton candy grapes were found in Sam's Club around August. If your membership dollars go toward Costco, you'll be happy to know the big box store is selling the grapes right now at select locations. According to Divine Flavor, the grapes come in two- and three-pound clamshell boxes, and 16 pound bags. You can also find the magical beans at some Wegman's, Publix, Kroger, and Fresh Market stores.

'Novelty' grapes among 24 varieties with new PLUs

By Chris Koger | May 18, 2018

International Fruit Genetics, whose grape varieties include the oddly-shaped Sweet Sapphire, has received six Price Look-Up numbers for 24 varieties. ( Photo courtesy IFG )

The company that brought Cotton Candy® grapes to the market has six new Price Look-Up numbers for 24 varieties of table grapes, including 10 considered as "novelty" varieties like the Cotton Candy®.

International Fruit Genetics (IFG), Bakersfield, Calif., groups the new PLUs into "core" varieties and "novelty" varieties - ones that have unique flavors such as the Cotton Candy or shapes like Funny Fingers that "break the mold" of traditional table grapes.

The Produce Marketing Association and International Federation for Produce Standards assigned the PLUs on May 1, according to an IFG news release. All 24 varieties are seedless.

Grouping the varieties into two categories allow for grower, marketer and retailer flexibility, according to the release.

Core variety PLUs are:

  • Red seedless (3496) - Sweet Celebration®, Sweet Romance® and Jack's Salute®;
  • Black seedless (3497) - Sweet Surrender®, Sweet Enchantment®, Sweet Secrets®, Sweet Surprise®, Sweet Favors®, Sweet Joy®, Sweet Magic and Sweet Bond; and
  • Green seedless (3498) - Sweet Sunshine®, Sweet Globe® and Sugar Crisp®.

Novelty variety PLUs are:

  • Red seedless (3499) - Sweet Nectar®, Sweet Mayabelle®, Candy Hearts, Candy Snaps and Candy Drops;
  • Black seedless (3500) - Sweet Sapphire®, Funny Fingers®, Candy Crunch and Candy Dreams;
  • Green seedless (3501) - Cotton Candy®.

"Our varieties are performing well, and retailers and marketers are asking for them by name," IFG® CEO Andy Higgins said in the release. "These PLU codes provide another tool for marketers and retailers to uniquely position our varieties for maximum impact."

California Cherries 2018 business updates

By Tom Karst | Apr 26, 2018

Flavor Tree Fruit offers new proprietary varieties

Flavor Tree Fruit Co. offers substantial volume of California's organic cherries, said Maurice Cameron, sales manager for Flavor Tree Fruit Co., Hanford, Calif.

"There is not a lot of organic cherries in California, but we are significant portion of them," he said.

Overall volume for the firm may account for 8% to 9% of total cherry volume from the state, Cameron said. Volume may be from 600,000 cartons to 700,000 cartons, he said.

"We represent a lot of volume on the front side of the deal," he said. "As a company we may peak the first week of May."

The firm offers proprietary cherry varieties, including the Sequoia cherry and the Yosemite.

The Sequoia will start harvest April 26.

"Consumers love it because of the flavor and the crunch," he said.

The Yosemite is a mid-May cherry, offering high brix and a crunchy cherry.

The company will offer two new as-yet-unnamed proprietary varieties this year on the front end of the season, before the Sequoia season, Cameron said.

The varieties offer a little earlier timing, good yields and nice quality and flavor, he said.

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Cotton Candy® grapes that taste like fairy floss now in Australian supermarkets

By Shelley Lloyd | Mar 18, 2018

It's every kid's dream - fruit that tastes like lollies.

Australian grape growers are cashing in on a fruit frenzy in the United States, where a horticulturalist has produced a green table grape that tastes just like fairy floss.

'Cotton candy grapes' are now being grown in Australia and have been available in supermarkets and fruit shops for a few weeks.

RW Pascoe fruit wholesaler Noel Greenhalgh said they were very different from the grapes most people know.

"They're very perfumed and very, very sweet - they certainly have the aroma and taste of fairy floss," Mr Greenhalgh said.

First crop planted in Australia in 2014

The grapes are not the result of genetic modification.

Mildura-based grower Adrian Caia planted the first 50 acres of cotton candy grapes about four years ago.

He said the breeder in America had used special budwood, which was a graft of root stock of plants from different parts of the world, "to cross breed the different varieties together to create the flavour".

"It's been grown in America for the past eight seasons and has gained a big following over there because of its unique flavours," he said.

"We decided to get the rights to grow it in Australia and introduce something new to the market which was a bit more suited to kids."

He said he had recently started producing enough grapes to supply supermarkets.

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Sweet Sapphire tipped to glisten in Asia

As South Africa builds its table grape portfolio in the Far East, an exciting black seedless variety may well pave the way.

By Fred Meintjes | Feb 14, 2018

South Africa's table grape markets in the Far East and South East Asia could be the beneficiaries of increased volumes of a new black seedless varieties introduced in the country.

This is the view of veteran Hex River Valley grower, Leon Viljoen, who is a central figure with introducing new varieties from the International Fruit Genetics (IFG) breeding programme.

IFG has been breeding new grape varieties in the US since 2001 under the leadership of Dr David Cain. IFG initially established contact with South African grower group, EXSA, of which Leon Viljoen is a shareholder. Since then, Viljoen has played a leading role in the evaluation of these cultivars in South Africa.

This week, with a number of vineyards laden with the new crop and harvesting due to start shortly, Viljoen showed Asiafruit the crop on two farms in the Hex Valley.

"One of these varieties, Sweet Sapphire, is a unique seedless black table grape, with elongated berries. We believe it will play a huge role in our marketing activities in the Far East region," said Viljoen.

With black seedless varieties taking a back seat in the traditional markets of the UK and Europe in relationship to red and white seedless, it is clear that shipments to the Far East, where black seedless varieties are very popular, will be a major focus for South African growers and exporters.

Having led the EXSA evaluation programme, Viljoen said he spent many hours observing breeding programmes overseas. "We also support the local breeding programmes but we are extremely happy with how the IFG varieties have performed."

Some years ago, Asiafruit watched the packing of the first Sweet Celebration red seedless variety at Mr Viljoen's farm Die Vlei in the Hex River Valley.

Sweet celebration is another IFG variety now extensively being planted in South Africa as an early season variety. On the same day, the unique elongated black grape, now named Sweet Sapphire, was also presented to a private tasting of table grape experts. The same variety was named as a winner for young vineyards in the Hex River Table Grape Block Competition last year.

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Melissa's Announces The First Shipment Of Sweet Sapphire® Grapes

By Melissa's Produce | Jan 29, 2018

Los Angeles, California - Melissa's announces the first shipment of the season of fresh Peruvian Sweet Sapphire Grapes! The unusual two-inch tubular shape is not the only unique characteristic of this sweet table grape. Sweet Sapphires have a dark purple, almost black, skin that protects its translucent green and seedless fruit. With a sugar content that exceeds all other fresh grape varieties, the grape has an extremely sweet flavor balance reminiscent of a delicate dessert wine. Surprisingly, each grape is so firm it can be snapped in half and large enough to be stuffed!

Through natural cross-pollination, a tedious process done by hand over many generations of grape seasons, the variety offers both taste and versatility like no other. Serve Sweet Sapphire grapes stuffed as an interesting party platter finger food, as the base for a full-bodied reduction sauce or simply as a tasty sweet out-of-hand snack fruit. Available for a short time during the months of late January - March, cross merchandise Sweet Sapphires with cheese, crackers and wine for increases sales in a wide range of grocery categories.

Melissa's Produce is the leading U.S. variety distributor of specialty and organic fresh produce. The company imports exotic fruits and vegetables from around the world. Melissa's Produce can be contacted at 1.800.588.0151 or at

Source: Melissa's Produce

Candy grapes hit RSA supermarkets

Two grape varieties from the IFG stable, Cotton Candy® and Candy Hearts, will appear in South African supermarkets this week.

By Fred Meintjes | Dec 18, 2017

Two table grape varieties that have already caused a stir in the US and other markets, are being introduced to South African consumers this week.

Cotton Candy, a white seedless grape, and Candy Heart, a red seedless cultivar, both from the IFG breeding programme, will be seen on the shelves of the Checkers Shoprite group.

The grapes are from new plantings at Silverland Farms in Aussenkehr, Namibia. "Cotton Candy, in particular, has been a talking point in the US because of its unique flavour and Cotton Heart has the same qualities," said Andre Vermaak, managing director of Silverland Farms.

Vermaak said that the Checker category manager, Freshmark, had snapped up this season's crop from Silverland Farms.

"They approached us to offer these grapes to South African consumers and we are already seeing demand from various sources to get their hands on them," he outlined. "At this stage we do not have any of these varieties for export and we believe South African consumers, mainly in the Cape region, will have a special treat this year. Naturally, as production grows, we will also be able to ship to our other customers, but for now they sell themselves."

Vermaak said the Namibian season, which started in early November, will probably end by the end of the week. "We have culled all our Red Globe which carried us into the New Year and now only have most of the newer varieties which put us on an exciting path to growth in future."

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The Grape Revolution

Asianfruit Magazine - July/August 2017

BAKERSFIELD - ASIANFRUIT talks to Adny Higgins, CEO of International Fruit Genetics (IFG) - one of the industry's leading table grape breeders - about what the future holds for the sector.

By Jeff Long

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Cotton Candy® Grapes: The Science Behind the Sweet, Carnival Taste

July 17, 2017

A new breed of green grape isn't fluffy or flossy, but it tastes just like cotton candy, according to news sources.

The carnival-evoking taste isn't the product of genetic engineering or artificial flavors, but rather the result of regular plant breeding, NPR reported.

"When you go to the supermarket, there's, like, 15 kinds of apples - Fuji, Pink Lady, Gala, Braeburn. The list goes on, "David Cain, a horticulturalist in charge of fruit breeding at International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield, California, told NPR. "We want to give consumers the same array of flavors for grapes."

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The new grape varieties gaining ground in Chile, Peru

June 29, 2017

Chile and Peru play a crucial role in the global table grape trade as a source of counter-seasonal supply to northern markets, which themselves have long been shifting to newer varieties to entice pickier consumers.

But the uptake of these newer cultivars has been slower in South America when compared to growing areas like California, where they now represent half of production according to Decofrut director Manuel José Alcaíno.

The industry analyst took part in a recent event hosted by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) in the Chilean capital Santiago, where varietal introduction was the overriding theme in crops such as grapes, blueberries and apples.

"The Peruvians are getting out of the supply of Red Globe, grafting and re-planting seedless varieties which have gone well," Alcaíno told participants.

"In the five main ones we have practically 80% of the production [of new varieties]," he said of the Peruvian industry, where the percentage of new varieties out of total exports has risen from just 0.5% in 2012-13 to 6.9% in 2016-17.

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New varieties bring new attributes to table grapes

June 10, 2015

By Kate Campbell

They look like grapes, but they taste like candy, strawberries, pineapple and many other interesting flavors-and today's table grapes also come in new colors and unexpected shapes.

David Cain, head of plant breeding activities for Bakersfield-based IFG, said there's a big shift going on right now in grape production, in California and around the world. Older, labor- and water-intensive grape varieties are being phased out, as farmers plant eye-catching, taste-tickling varieties with higher yields.

"Growers come to our company asking about new varieties," Cain said, adding that a number are looking to replace older varieties, such as Thompson seedless and autumn royal. "They want to try something new."

He said the company doesn't create genetically engineered crops; instead, new varieties are created using advanced breeding techniques in traditional approaches. IFG was founded in 2001 by table grape grower Jack Pandol Jr. and the owners of Sunridge Nurseries, Glen and Terrie Stoller.

It used to be that new plant varieties were developed during years of study and experimentation, involving research activities at both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and universities. But these days, a lot of that painstaking work is being done by private plant breeders such as Cain and IFG.


Cherry breeders seek improved varieties

The Packer | Apr 28, 2014

Breeders always are looking for a bigger, better, sweeter cherry, but in Southern California, where timing is everything, earliness of the fruit is a prime concern.

BQ Genetics, Le Grand, Calif., develops varieties for Warmerdam Packing LP, Hanford, Calif., said Glen Bradford, a partner in BQ Genetics.

The company typically sees 3,000 hybrids per year that have potential for producing new varieties, he said.

It was BQ Genetics that developed the tulare and Sequoia varieties.

Warmerdam will start production of what BQ has named the Arvin Glen in 2015, said Maurice Cameron, sales manager for Warmerdam's sales arm, Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC in Hanford. However, the company likely will market the variety under a different name.

Arvin Glen grows well in low-chill regions, like the Arvin area in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley. It's about the same size as the bing cherry, though it comes off two weeks earlier, Bradford said.

The timing of the early fruit is important to growers because early cherries can open at $200 per box, then quickly drop to $100, $80 then to $60 as volume picks up and the fruit becomes more plentiful, he said.

Zaiger's Genetics, Modesto, Calif., has developed seven commercial cherry varieties, said Leith Gardner, daughter of founder Floyd Zaiger.

Flavor, shelf life, appearance, firmness, rain tolerance and ability to ship well are some of the characteristics the company breeds for.

Climatic conditions have been changing, Zaiger said, and she's heard that some growers are not getting the sets they used to get with the bing.

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Cotton Candy® A Sweet Spin On Designer Fruit

August 06, 2013 - by Michaeleen Doucleff

Can't we just leave our fruit alone?

Last year, apple farmers were their fruit in grape flavor to make them more attractive to kids. Now, plant breeders in California have created a grape that tastes like - well, spun sugar and air.

That's right, Salties. Say hello to the Cotton Candy® grape.

Read full article...

Cotton Candy® In The News

May 13, 2013

Table grapes come in many varieties, red, green, seedless, and now cotton candy. It isn't something most people would associate with the flavor of a grape but IFG created a variety it says tastes just like spun sugar.

IFG General Manager David Cain said, "It tastes quite a bit like cotton candy."

It's been eight years in the making. Cain says by breeding wild grape species, they've developed the unique flavor.

"This is all natural and we don't do any genetic engineering or anything," said Cain.

It's not a simple process. They start by pollinating the vines by hand. Cain says there are anywhere from 300 to 1,000 flowers on each of the 2,000 clusters.

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