'Witch fingers' and cotton candy grapes a big hit

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A South Valley company known for growing one-of-a-kind grape varieties appears to have another hit on their hands. (KFSN)

A South Valley company known for growing one-of-a-kind grape varieties appears to have another hit on their hands.

"Witch fingers" were just released a few weeks ago by an innovative company called Grapery. But how can something that sounds so creepy and looks so odd taste so good?

The witch fingers growing in a Kern County vineyard are also long on flavor. Grapery CEO Jim Beagle said, "They're so big it takes two bites sometimes."

They hang in big, heavy bunches. Beagle said the witch fingers come in different colors. "We get a lot of questions from people about how did you do this and it is natural so just to reassure everybody it is safe and natural. This is not genetically modified. It's not treated in any way to make the grapes turn out this way."

The long green variety is still being tested. People who come across witch finger grapes might do a double take and wonder if they're peppers but they're just longer versions of very sweet grapes.

The witch fingers clearly have cast a spell over consumers but Grapery also had a hit last year with cotton candy flavor grapes. They evoke memories of cotton candy at the circus.

Grapery chairman Jack Pandol said it took the company a decade to develop the cotton candy variety. Pandol said, "It is the leading edge of a whole new paradigm in table grape production. Unusual flavors, great flavors."

The company works with a plant breeder who travels the world seeking unique grape varieties. Beagle explained, "He brings them back to Bakersfield and Delano and does cross breeding. Natural cross pollination to develop new varieties of grapes that combine the best traits such as shapes and flavors."

Grapery is just getting started. The company is testing several new varieties on a 20-acre plot. Pandol said, "I have one I call raspberry lemonade. Another one tastes like gummy bears, another one tastes like a kid's lollipop and so on."

Those varieties are coming soon.

The unique grapes are sold locally at Sprouts and Whole Foods.


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foodagricultureag watchBakersfield
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