Grape Tastes Like Cotton Candy - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Grape Tastes Like Cotton Candy

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DELANO, Calif. (KMPH) -

There's a new grape variety on the market and it tastes more like candy than fresh fruit.  Clusters and clusters of green grapes are hanging on the vines ready to be picked in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  They were created through plant breeding in the privately owned International Fruit Genetics laboratory near Delano.

David Cain is a Kern County scientist who has spent the past decade creating flavored grapes.  The variety that looks like a Thompson seedless tastes like cotton candy.  "This appeals a lot to like young children.   People just want different eating experiences."

Candice Behl was willing to take the taste test.  "Does it taste like candy?  A little yeah.   Cotton candy?  A little.   Now that I think about it, yeah."

Researcher David Cain has had a few hits and a lot of misses in his twelve years of creating flavored grapes.  Some of his creations look like chili peppers and are being marketed as Witch Fingers.  Then there's the Sweet Sapphire, that's shaped like a double–a battery.  Both flavors are unique.  "We also have some that people describe as strawberry or mango or some that taste like grape lollipops or pineapple."

The tedious work takes place in the lab.  The job is to remove the little seed traces out of the grape and put them in what's called a special growth media.   They stay in the sealed glass dish for two months.  "We dissect out just the embryo out of the ovule in the dish, put that into a test tube that grows into a little plant."

Out of the thousands and thousands of plant breeding samples, Cain says each year they will only come up with two new commercial varieties.  But he says the Cotton Candy variety is already in demand destined for high end grocery stores nationwide.  "It's like fishing or something. You never know when you're gonna get the big one."

Cain says the Cotton Candy grape will cost consumers between six to twelve dollars a pound in supermarkets. 

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