Since its discovery by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 1500s, the muscadine grape — also known as the Southern Fox grape or Scuppernong — has carried the title as the quintessential Southern grape. From North Carolina, the muscadine quickly trickled down the hot and humid Southeast coast and pursued a western course through Texas. The grape adapts well to humidity and hot summers when its crop readies by mid-August. Though limited commercially, muscadines are roadside favorites and the star attraction at pick-your-own-fruit farms and specialty wineries. Available in dozens of varieties (though typically a dark purple with a rough hide), sweet muscadine pulp also finds its way into preserves, jellies, jams and syrups. Find them at the Crescent City Farmers Market on Tuesdays (from Durham Produce) and Saturdays (from Indian Springs Farmers Co-Op and jellied from Briar Hill Farm).
The Crescent City Farmers Market is at Uptown Square on River Road from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and at Magazine and Girod streets from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.