General Question

vdrl's avatar

How long have seedless grapes been available in the U.S.?

Asked by vdrl (6points) June 21st, 2009

We were discussing this at work.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Green (Thompson’s) seedless grapes were around certainly in the 1950s, maybe earlier. Red seedless? I think they’re much more recent.

[Edit] Apparently the Thompson’s were available in New York in 1872 and made it to California in time to bear fruit in 1875. source

Darwin's avatar

Thompson’s seedless was indeed the first commonly grown in the US. Other seedless grapes commonly grown in this country were created from crosses with Thompson Seedless, Russian Seedless, and Black Monukka in the 20th century.

The original push behind the need for seedless grapes was for the raisin industry, because people hated to have to seed raisins before using them. In fact, I distantly remember from when I was a child in the 1950’s that we could buy some unusually large raisins out in California, but they had seeds in them.

A breeding program to produce seedless grapes was begun by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1919 but was most successful in the 1950’s with Glenora (1952) and Canadice (1954).

Dr. H.P. Olmo, a professor from UC Davis came up with a lot of them. He was a sort of horticultural Indiana Jones. He came up with the Perlette grape (a seedless grape similar to Thompson’s but with a wider climate range) and it was released to growers in 1946, then in 1959 he developed a black seedless grape, followed by Ruby Seedless and Beauty Seedless, but they weren’t released to growers. He developed Red Globe seedless grapes (one of my favorites) somewhat later from grapes he discovered in Afghanistan, and they were released to growers in 1981.

In fact, as recently as 1990 the Russians came out with yet another type of seedless grape, the Rusbol.

veganpeanutbutter's avatar

Eighty seven and a half years.

msright1981's avatar

Would not these be chemically treated? I would wonder how dangerous are these.

Darwin's avatar

@msright1981- Actually, seedless grapes are a natural occurrence due to a genetic mutation. They can only reproduce vegetatively but we humans have actively done that.

Certain varieties of “seedless grape” aren’t quite as seedless as others and so are sprayed with Gibberellin, a plant hormone that is naturally produced in plants to break dormancy and regulate seed production. Gibberellins are used on a huge variety of crops and as naturally occurring compounds are unavoidable in our food supply.

Gibberellins only came into commercial use in 1962, but seedless grapes came into production well before that, so seedless grapes don’t require the use of chemicals to make them seedless.

msright1981's avatar

@Darwin thanks for the info. I am just always quite paranoid about all the chemicals used in producing a better looking fruit these days :).

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther