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What is a Muscadine?

I am actually a Texas "transplant". I was born in Colorado and my parents moved the family to Longview back in 1979. I grew up in East Texas, I went to Texas A&M, & married a 5th generation Texan, and I have loved living here for over 45 years. So, southern dues = paid.


However, like many transplants I was not always familiar with everything "Southern" growing up and I often learned new things through the teasing of native-born Texans.

It's all good now...cause I eventually learned:

  • Caddo is the only natural lake in the whole state.

  • Okra & Chicken-fried Steak.

  • It's possible to "tump" a thing over.

  • Boots & Trucks actually ARE superior.

  • Muscadines are amazing.


Now, you may be a Texas native and still not know that Muscadines are a natural wonder of the deep South. They grow wild between the pines of East Texas to the shores of North Carolina. Arkansas & Missouri are big producers of Muscadines & delightful products like Muscadine wine. Older folks often tell me stories about picking wild muscadines as children in the Sabine River valley or at their grandparent's farm. Some have fond memories of the fruit made into jelly and served at holidays or church BBQs.

Unfortunately, the wild vines are much harder to come by now and most people below the age of 40 have never even heard of Muscadines before!


That needs to change.


Muscadines are very similar to grapes. Muscadine vines have a similar appearance & growth habit as grapevines but they have 2 more chromosomes & thus do not cross-pollinate. Muscadines are different enough that they occupy their own category of fruit species: Vitis rotundifolia.

If you have never tasted a ripe muscadine then I have a special treat for you at the end of this post!


I planted our first row of Muscadines in the Howard-Hill vineyard about 15 years ago. Those seven vines were an impulse buy while walking though a big box store. Later, after months of research, I discovered a nursery in Georgia that has specialized in the development of Muscadine varieties for generations. I experimented with about 17 different varieties of their vines until I settled on two that grow pretty well at our place. We still grow more than two varieties, but 'Tara' and 'Southland' make up 90% of what we cultivate in our vineyard. These are the vines I propagate in my nursery and they love East Texas. They are self-fertile, heavy producers, and tolerate our climate very well. They grow like weeds here, actually.


The muscadine jelly we sell at Grumpy's Garden Club events is made from the fruit produced in our own vineyard. It took several years to figure out the details ( we are still working on improvements) but this last Summer I had my "muscadine epiphany".


Our harvests produce gallons and gallons of juice every September. Muscadines produce the most satisfying and uniquely sweet flavor. I am often asked to describe it, but it really must be experienced because comparisons to other fruits do not work.


So, this coming Saturday I plan to debut our very own Muscadine Popsicles made from 100% pure muscadine juice, both raw & unfiltered. We just picked, pressed, & froze 'em.


Each popsicle contains about 4 oz. of this miraculous muscadine juice & absolutely NOTHING else!

It is the perfect, healthy, sweet treat for a warm Southern day.

It is also the perfect opportunity for you to finally find out what muscadines taste like!


So, come on by and see me Saturday in the vineyard. I'll be in my overalls & a bright colored shirt.

I'll have some plants for sale, but mostly...you need a muscadine popsicle.



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