Muscadines: A sweet, southern delicacyPublished 9:32am Thursday, September 20, 2012
Muscadines, native to the south, are a lot like southerners. They grow in the southern states, they thrive in the warm weather and they absolutely refuse to grow anymore when the first chill moves in during September or October.
These southern delicacies range in color and sweetness and have a tough skin, much like the people who have thrived and grown up in the Black Belt, making it their home.
In a vineyard off of Dallas County Road 465 the Bowman family produced more than 9,000 pounds of muscadines this season, and counting.
“We have nine different types of muscadines,” William Bowman said.
And his father Floyd Bowman helped list them all. The different breeds that grow on the farm have names like Higgins, Black Beauty, Darlene, Dixieland and Sweet Jenny. The different types and breeds of muscadines that grow on the Bowman farm appeal to the local and regional grocers they sell to.
He even sells to grocers in Marion and Uniontown.
“People can go to those stores and know that they are buying Bowman muscadines,” William said about people supporting local businesses that buy from local farms.
Many of the muscadines found in major grocery stores such as Walmart and Winn-Dixie buy from vineyards in Georgia, the heavyweight producer of the unique treat.
The Bowman’s muscadine vines have been producing the fruit since 1987, Floyd said. Over the years the farm has sold cattle, cotton and several other things but today their main staple is produce.
“I drew the plan out for one acre and that would be nine rows, 400-feet long, every 20 feet we would plant a plant and I had a map of where we would plant the different ones,” Floyd said of putting the muscadines in 1987.
Planters have to strategically place the plants because male plants need to be near female plants in order to pollinate.
“You have number of people who do like green plumbs and I heard years ago that said that a pregnant woman would crave a green plumb,” Floyd said about why their land is also home to 200 plumb trees.
But even though some argue whether they like green plumbs, Floyd said he thinks everyone craves muscadines because of their sweet taste.
“They are just like peanuts, you start on one and you cant stop. You just go crazy and people crave them,” Floyd said.
The vines are now open for picking and those from the public and schools are welcome to come and try their hand at picking the muscadines. Schools like Kingston Elementary visited the farm.
“We would love to have more schools come out here so they can pick the grapes and learn a little about how we make them,” William said.
The public can also make appointments to come and pick by calling 349-0905
“We even had a pastor who came and got a five-gallon bucket to make communion wine, must be a happy congregation,” William said.