Local company creates cotton candy flavored grapes

Table grapes come in many varieties, red, green, seedless and now cotton candy. It isn't something most people would associate with the flavor of a grape, but International Fruit Genetics created a variety it says tastes just like spun sugar.
DELANO, CA - Table grapes come in many varieties, red, green, seedless, and now cotton candy. It isn't something most people would associate with the flavor of a grape but International Fruit Genetics created a variety it says tastes just like spun sugar.

International Fruit Genetics General Manager David Cain said, "It tastes quite a bit like cotton candy."

It's been eight years in the making. Cain says by breeding wild grape species, they've developed the unique flavor.

"This is all natural and we don't do any genetic engineering or anything," said Cain.

It's not a simple process. They start by pollinating the vines by hand. Cain says there are anywhere from 300 to 1,000 flowers on each of the 2,000 clusters.

"Removing the anthers that would normally pollinate it and then take the pollen from the father vine that we want and dapping it on the pistil of the female," Cain said.

It will develop into a grape berry that can be put in a test tube to grow another plant and eventually allows further cross-combinations, like cotton candy. It doesn't stop there.

Cain said, "We've got some that we're working on that have sort of a, people describe them as mango or pineapple, and we have some that have sort of a almost strawberry type flavor."

Cain says those varieties aren't widely available yet. Cotton candy grapes are sold to some retailers on the east coast and out of the county, but Cain says he hopes they will soon catch on locally.

"The major commercial production is just starting to come in this year where we have several hundred acres starting to come in," said Cain.

The pollination process lasts about ten days. The grapes will be harvested in August.
 
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