Eat Local - Growing Grapes In The Backyard

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA

Concord Grapes On The VineWalk around Somerville, Medford or Cambridge in late August and you're likely to catch a whiff of grape juice.  Concord grapes ripen at the end of summer and there's many a backyard arbor to be found in the city.  More than once I've plucked grapes from the vine while showing a property and I have wonderful memories of sitting beneath dangling bunches of fragrant grapes at the Neighborhood Restaurant in Union Square, Somerville. Best of all - Concord grapes are like tasty vitamins - loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.  

Though I grew up in Concord, home of the Concord Grape, I was a fan of green grapes - the supermarket variety - until I bought my current house which came with an old grape vine in the backyard.  Now every summer I feel like a farmer as I harvest my crop of sweet smelling grapes.   

I'm an amateur farmer, however, sorely in need of guidance.  Benign neglect has led to a substandard crop. Many of the grape clusters wither on the vine and I'm sure my overgrown arbor should be mercilessly pruned.  What's an uninformed gardener to do?  

In Massachusetts help can be found at the Mass Aggie Seminars offered through the University of Massachusetts.  Workshops on growing a variety of backyard fruits are offered in the spring.  I'm planning to enroll in Growing and Pruning Grapes in the Home Garden.   

A bit of history with your grape juice?  Commercial production of the Concord grape began in 1854.  Ephraim Bull (1806-1895) had experimented with native grapes on his Concord, Massachusetts farm for several years and in 1853 his grapes won 1st prize at the Boston Horticultural Society's exhibition.   

Grapevine Cottage Concord Massachusetts

Ephraim Bull's house, Grapevine Cottage, is currently on the market in Concord for $799,000 complete with monument and grapevine.  Just down the street from the Alcott's Orchard House and Hawthorne's Wayside,  this historic house is delightful and filled with charm. Parts of the house are thought to date to the 17th century. This is truly a rare and wonderful opportunity for the old house enthusiast - or grape lover!   


In addition to growing grapes, Elizabeth Bolton works with buyers and sellers in Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, Medford, Watertown, and Belmont and nearby communities. Read more about the real estate market in the Cambridge area and contact Liz Bolton when you're thinking of buying or selling.   



Comments (10)

Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I'm a little too far south for grapes, but we've got lots of loquats, oranges, lemons, and limes. It's fun to go out back and pick a couple of lemons and make lemonade.

Feb 20, 2009 05:59 PM
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

What a great history!  My parents had a vineyard in Napa Valley for 25 years but I had no idea about the history of the Concord grape.  I hope someone special buys that very historic home!

Feb 21, 2009 08:29 AM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Russel ~ That's such a nifty bonus in California - to be able to pick so much fruit in your yard. At least we've got grapes and apples!

Hi Diane - a vineyard! that sounds wonderful. And me too - I really hope somebody "worthy" buys that amazing house.  It's really unspoiled and very charming - it would really be too bad if somebody made it into just another renovated house. Wish I could buy it!


Feb 21, 2009 09:24 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Elizabeth:  Yum !  Those grapes look so luscious just hanging there on the vine.  I wish I could reach my hand into the monitor and sample a bunch.  Again... I repeat... Yum !

Feb 22, 2009 04:39 PM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Karen - Don't they look delicious? You can almost smell them!


Feb 23, 2009 02:16 PM
Michael Lee
Frog Realty - Tallahassee, FL

Nice post.  I love stories like this about an area.  Keep up the great work.

Feb 24, 2009 02:20 PM
Brenda Carus
Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate - Monroe, WI

Our home came with a very old concord grape vine too.  I couldn't believe how easily it was to learn to care for it, and the jelly I make from it every year is yummy.

Feb 26, 2009 04:09 AM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Thanks Michael.  There are definitely lots of stories to tell!

Hi Brenda - That's good to hear.  I couldn't really figure it out from what I've found online (I sure don't have a green thumb) so I'm looking forward to the class.  And that's great that you make jelly - there tend to be so many grapes it's hard to eat them all. When I was writing this post I did come across a number of recipes so maybe I'll get it together this summer.

Feb 26, 2009 03:19 PM
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

I've got three kinds growing.  Can't wait until it gets a little warmer to see if they produce.

Mar 04, 2009 03:02 PM
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate

We've got half a dozen grape vines and love eating our own grapes (we also dry them for raisins, can them, and make 'em into pies!)


Jun 04, 2009 11:23 AM