It’s time for summer grapes to shine! Champagne grapes are starting off strong and looking amazing. They are botanically classified as Vitis vinifera and are members of the Vitaceae, or common grape family. Champagne grapes are very small, roughly the size of a pea, round, and grow in tightly packed clusters. They are seedless with a dark deep red, almost magenta, thin skin that pops when bitten. The flesh is translucent and extremely juicy. Champagne grapes are crisp, succulent, and taste sweet with a hint of tartness. They are perfect for fresh eating and are commonly used for baking or garnishes. Bonus: these grapes contain vitamin C and A, iron, calcium, and fiber.
Get creative, have fun with your displays, and order some Champagne grapes today! Make sure to talk to your Account Manager to keep your offerings fresh and attractive through the summer grape season!
Merchandising Summer Grapes
Over time, we have seen a huge growth and demand for more sustainable packing. In response, grape growers are offering more product in eco-friendly options. A popular packaging option for grapes are paper totes, which is a great eco-friendly alternative to commonly used plastic pouches. They keep the grapes fresh and offer the same protection when stacked for display purposes. Paper totes can easily be recycled or composted! One suggestion is to offer both paper totes and plastic pouches and let customers choose what fits their lifestyle best. Here are some tips for displaying all the different sustainable grape options this summer:
- Keep Product Fresh: Grapes will hold up better when kept refrigerated but will hold up just fine for a day or two on a non-refrigerated table. If you are displaying grapes on a non-refrigerated dry table, the product does need to be pulled at the end of the day and stored in the cooler overnight. Cull out any damaged fruit regularly.
- Build a Large Display: Highlight that you are supporting paper totes and build a prominent display featuring all the grapes you carry in eco-friendly paper totes. Create signage on why you are supporting the switch to paper and how your customers can properly dispose of the packaging once they are home.
- Don’t Stack Too High: No matter if you are displaying totes or pouches, never stack your grapes too high. The grapes on the bottom layer can safely withstand the weight of one to two layers of product without getting damaged. Any more layers than that, you risk squishing the grapes on the bottom!
- Cross Merchandise: California-grown pears and apples have just started and would look great incorporated into a larger seasonal summer display. They are excellent options to help to break up the look of all grape totes and pouches. You can also try cross-merchandising grapes with charcuterie board supplies!
- Diversify: Featuring more variety means more grape sales. It has been proven that the more colors and variety you offer, the more grapes you will sell overall. Many ‘big box’ stores are now offering tri-color grape packs, with green, red and black seedless in large clamshells. While organic growers are not currently offering this ‘variety-pack’ they will in coming seasons. In the meantime, spread the love and buy all colors and flavors of grapes while they are at their peak!
New & Exciting!:
- Bartlett Pear: California-grown here now and tasting amazing! Crunchy, juicy, smooth, buttery texture with a sweet flavor.
- Hard Squash*: California-grown hard squash is here now! Great availability with Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Spaghetti, Kabocha varieties. Try building a large and colorful hard squash display!
- Hosui Asian Pear*: Green exterior ripens to a gold-bronze hue when mature. Ivory colored flesh is firm, dense, crisp, fine-grained. Sweet and tangy flavor.
Did you know…the name Hosui in Japanese roughly translates to mean “much water,” a descriptor for the fruit’s juicy flesh?
- Red Starkrimson Pear*: California-grown here now! Traditional pear shape with brilliant crimson colored, thin skin. Flesh is ivory to cream colored, crisp, fine-grained, and creamy with a soft floral scent. These pears are a real treat when ripe—soft, juicy, with a mild sweet-tart flavor. Add these to your summer displays for a pop of color and contrast!
- Shallot*: California-grown looking sharp from VV Exclusive grower Veliz Family Farm!
- Thomcord Grape: Smooth, semi-thick skin is a deep blue, purple, to almost black in color. Skin clings tightly to the translucent flesh. Juicy, seedless, firm with a high sugar content and an intense, plummy, grape jelly-like flavor. Absolutely delicious! Best suited for fresh eating, but are also amazing to use for jam, ice cream, or baked applications.
- Cucumber: Slicing cucumbers in plentiful supply and looking sharp!
- Fig*: Back on in somewhat steady supply. Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Candy Stripe, Violette de Bordeaux, and Peter’s Honey varieties are available now. Volume will increase as the season progresses.
- Melon: Summer melons are all in great supply! Watch our tasting video where VV Account Manager Ryan shares why the Charentais and Piel de Sapo are his favorite melons. Learn all about these specialty summer varieties and plus how to pick a ripe melon! Feel free to share this video with your customers or community members:
- Pepper*: Chili peppers are in abundant supply! Talk to your Account Manager to stay in the loop with all the varieties that are coming on. Check out our chili pepper varietal guide HERE.
- Yellow Peach*: In bountiful supply with sharp pricing and tasting fantastic! Volume deals available- talk to your Account Manager today!
- Fava Beans
- Granny Smith Apple: Extremely limited.
- Savoy Spinach: Short gap due to crops not sizing up. Expected to come back in good volume by the beginning of August
- Sugar Snap Pea: Extremely limited as the season winds down. Grab these while you still can!