U.S.: Brandt Farms aims to boost profile of Thomcord grapes
California-based Brandt Farms is starting another season this week for a unique table grape variety, although now with renewed impetus through a brand that focuses on its jam-like flavor.
Thomcord grapes have been around since 1983 when they were developed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), as a cross between the white Thompson Seedless and black Concord varieties.
The niche cultivar has fetched higher average prices than its descendants in recent times, but Brandt managing partner Michael Reimer wants to take its potential further with the brand 'Grape Jammers', which has been listed as a Buyer's Choice Award finalist for the Fresno Food Expo on July 23.
"This is grown much like you would grow an actually Thompson grape, so it has Thompson characteristics in terms of the thin skin and a bit of a meaty flesh to it, but it has Concord flavor," Reimer told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"Typically the Concord grape has seeds in it with a really tough skin and a little more of a doughy like flesh inside, whereas this has firm flesh, thin skin an no seeds.
He said the campaign would run through September into the first part of October, mostly focused on the U.S. and Canadian markets but with some interest shown from South East Asian buyers.
"We think it's just a very unique eating grape compared to all the other table grapes that are offered," Reimer said.
"We do grow a lot of traditional grapes, whether they be the Flames, Autumn King, Scarlet Royals, Summer Royals, all of those, but this is a grape that has a very distinct eating characteristic and we’ve just been able to develop a niche market for it, and increased our production.
"So starting this year we’re starting on a brand new program to get this story out there about the grape, using the brand to try and convey the eating characteristics."
He said a few retail partners were already on board with the project, and very soon the Grape Jammers website would be up and running with information on the product, promotions and where it can be found.
"We've created a website grapejammers.com that is specifically for this product, and along with that we have a social media campaign that is also focused specifically around Grape Jammers.
"Part of that campaign is that the brand is built around six little different characters; each one is a grape and we call them members of the bunch – for six weeks we'll be doing the 'Name the Jmmer' contest," he said, adding the competition would run from August to mid-September.
"It's more of a social media awareness contest, where we're trying to get people to go to the site, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, to just learn more about the grape, and more uses in addition to eating them fresh, and learn some facts about it too."