First cultivated at a commercial level in the 1870s in California, seedless grapes have become the norm in the United States and many other Western cultures. Today, 80% of grapes sold throughout the country are seedless—more than any other country in the world. But how did seedless grapes start, and how can they continue to reproduce?
How Can Seedless Grapes Exist Biologically?
In the era of genetically modified organisms in agriculture, seedless grapes may seem like a byproduct of laboratory tests and genetic experimentation. However, lovers of organic and natural foods should find relief in the fact that seedless grapes are a product of Mother Nature.
So how can a seedless grape reproduce naturally? The answer is through a process called propagation. Propagation is when you cut a branch of an existing seedless grape plant and plant it in soil while keeping the dirt moist.
Typically, propagation is completed while the grapevine lies dormant, and then the vine comes to life after six months to nine months of propagation. As a result, a seedless fruit can continue to thrive without the need for seed-based reproduction. Interestingly, many commercially grown fruits—including those with seeds—are produced through propagation for the reason of quality control and a similar product (flavor, color, and shape) through each harvest.
When Did Seedless Grapes Become Popular?
In the early 1870s, Scottish immigrant William Thompson began to import grape varieties to California from Iran and Turkey. Over time, he began to perfect the art of propagation and interbreeding on these varieties, eventually creating a seedless grape. Known as the Thompson variety, this grape became the preferred choice for raisins.
By the mid-1920s, farmers in California—the largest producer of grapes in the U.S.—had propagated enough seedless grapes that it became one of the more popular choices. In less than 100 years, seedless grapes became the preferred choice of North Americans.
Most Popular Types of Seedless Grapes
Interestingly, you can find seedless grapes in nearly all types of varieties. So whether your favorite table grapes (or those produced for consumption rather than products such as wine) are red grapes, green grapes, or organic grapes, you’ll easily find a seedless variety. Some of the most popular types of seedless grapes include:
- Flame (crunchy, red, and round)
- Thompson (most popular grape for raisins, but still a popular choice for green grape enthusiasts)
- Ruby (oval shape, dark red, and high juice content)
- Anthony’s (branded as organic seedless grapes, these are sweet, large, and green)
- Autumn Royal (black grape with stronger skin and a sweet, juicy flesh)
How to Choose Delicious Seedless Grapes
If you want to purchase some delicious, fresh table grapes, make sure the grapes are tight to the stem, firm, plump, and with little give. In addition, look at the stems, as these should be flexible, not brittle. Finally, avoid grapes that appear wet or shriveled, as this is the first step toward decay.
Seedless grapes are one of the greatest gifts of nature. With all the delicious natural taste without the hassle of seeds, few other fruits are as poppable as seedless grapes. And packed with vitamins and minerals, you just might find that seedless grapes make healthy eating just a bit easier.
Customers love our seedless Razzle Red Grapes and Dazzle Green Grapes, they are sweet, crunchy, and delicious. Contact us to find out about the variety of seedless grapes we offer 365 days a year coast to coast.