Ask the Produce Expert: Cotton Candy Grapes
Aug 16, 2016, Updated Jun 07, 2021
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Today’s Expert: Jim Beagle, CEO & Partner of Grapery, Inc.
Welcome to the 16th edition of our featured series, titled “Ask the Produce Expert.” In this series, we feature an expert in the agriculture world and ask them industry-related questions. If you have a question that you want answered by an industry expert – it’s as easy as tweeting us or posting your question on The Produce Mom Facebook page! The Produce Mom Family of Partners is here to answer your questions!
In this edition of Ask the Produce Expert, Jim Beagle is our featured expert. Since joining Grapery in 2008, Beagle and his partner, Grapery founder Jack Pandol, have led Grapery in the ongoing transformation to grow the most flavorful table grapes in the world. This vision is built on a foundation of long term investments in a great team of people, grape breeding, vineyard assets, farming and harvest techniques, and consumer – focused market development. Grapery’s recent successes include the commercial introduction of Cotton Candy and Tear Drop grapes, as featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, the Ryan Seacrest Radio Show, Business Rockstars, Buzzfeed, and many other prominent media outlets. A fifth generation California farmer, Beagle grew up working with his family in the region’ so vineyards. Prior experiences include farming wine grapes in Napa Valley, management of a large consumer-focused citrus operation, and an Agribusiness Research position at Harvard Business School. Beagle serves on the California Table Grape Commission. He earned a B.S. In Agricultural Science from UC Davis, and an MBA from Harvard. Beagle resides in Bakersfield, California with his wife and 3 children.
Welcome, Jim! How did you get grapes to taste like Cotton Candy?
We achieved the astonishing flavor using all-natural breeding practices. We breed for flavor, continuously experimenting, trying out a wide range of cross-pollination combinations. Frankly, we were stunned when we discovered a new grape that tasted like cotton candy. But, rest assured, it was accomplished by completely natural means. We didn’t apply any “cotton candy flavoring” or plant any sort of flavoring materials into the soil to attain the cotton candy flavor. It was the result of a lot of hard work, innovation and, okay, a bit of good luck.
Are they GMO?
No. We work hard to breed our grapes naturally over time and to develop innovative, sustainable farming techniques that create exceptional and amazing flavor. Our all-natural best practices ensure a unique taste experience without the need for additives, infusions, or GMO. So when you try our grapes, you’ll always enjoy a distinctive, delicious flavor. Nothing more. Nothing less. It’s in our nature.
Are your growing practices sustainable?
Absolutely. In fact, we work hard to ensure that all of our practices, from our agricultural methods to employment practices, fit our comprehensive philosophy of sustainability. When most companies talk about sustainability, they are referring solely to ecological practices. We have spent years perfecting our agricultural methods, from adding nutritional complexity to our vines from seaweed based products, to intricate methods of nurturing the perfect soil biology. As well as the most responsible uses of crop protection and water resources. But we believe that sustainability is more than that. It also means that our grapes continually provide the highest quality of flavor, our employees have stable employment and that we sustain the local and regional economies. Everything we do is done to make sure that Grapery is growing world class table grapes for many years to come. Visit our sustainability web page to learn more about our philosophy.
Where are your Cotton Candy grapes grown?
Our grapes, each and every variety, are grown right here in Kern and Tulare counties in idyllic California.
These taste so good, are they higher in calories than other grapes?
No, our grapes generally have the same nutritional value as other table grapes.
I noticed there are loose berries at the bottom of the bag, are they ok to eat?
Absolutely! In the industry, we call that shatter. It’s a natural sign of ripe fruit that it begins to disconnect and eventually fall of the stem. It’s usually the best tasting fruit!
Some of the berries are more golden in color, are they still fresh?
Yes! Golden color in green grapes is a sign of ripeness. If they’re too green, they usually don’t taste good. Grapes don’t continue to ripen after harvest like many other fruits do. They are at their peak of perfection the moment we cut them off the vine, so the golden color is a sign of peak flavor!
Do you have any other fun flavors that you grow?
Yes! Grapery’s product offerings include mouth watering red, green and black grapes, plus several amazing new varieties.
One of Grapery’s newest innovations is Flavor Pops. These grapes taste just like popsicles! And they come in unique shapes and colors. Snatch these up when you find them in stores!
Moon Drops are grapes with out-of-this-world flavor! Their gravity-defying shape may seem peculiar, but their delicious taste proves they have universal appeal. Moon Drops are truly stellar!
Gum Drops are gummylicious! These grapes are small, but they’re big on taste. Every Gum Drop is filled with a luscious candy-sweet flavor.
The first thing you’ll notice about Tear Drops is their distinctive elongated shape. But wait till you eat them! They are dripping with a sweet, juicy flavor.
The Flavor Promise line includes the following varieties: Sweet Surrender®, Sweet Celebration®, Sweet Jubilee®, Crimson Seedless and Autumn Royal.
That concludes the 16th edition of our Ask the Produce Expert series! A big thank you to Jim Beagle for sharing his expertise and insight! Learn more about Cotton Candy Grapes and Grapery on their website. If you are curious on when Cotton Candy Grapes are other Grapery varieties are available to the public, you can view their availability calendar on their website along with retailers that carry Grapery grapes!
Do you have a question about Cotton Candy Grapes that didn’t get asked? Leave it in the comments below & we’ll be sure to answer it.