A rare treat I discovered here in Georgia is the Scuppernong, a green grape indigenous to the southern states of America. First discovered by Giovanni de Verrazzano in 1524, these bulbous fruit are a bronze variety of the Muscadine family. They have a thick skin with a texture I’ve never really experienced before; people have evolved different approaches to eating them.
I stumbled upon them in the Dekalb Farmers Market in Decatur, which has the largest selection of produce I’ve ever seen assembled in one place. There was a small display of Scuppernongs and Muscadines next to the rest of the grapes, which I wouldn’t have noticed except for two or three shrieks by fellow shoppers when the local grapes were available. I was about to go for the standard Muscadine when a woman picked up two or three of the broze variety and told her friend that the Scuppernongs were riper and sweeter this early in the season. Can’t argue with that.
My friend Zach says that hicks in the south drink Muscadine wine, and are commonly seen foraging by the roadside for fresh ones. Sounds like a likely story, but I can’t seem to find anything on the web about the hillbilly’s affection for this grape. And of course if it’s not on the web, it’s not true.