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What Are Cotton Candy Grapes, and Why Are People Going Crazy for Them?

A taste of the state fair, minus the sticky fingers
Cotton Candy Grapes
Photo: Laura Goodrich via flickr

Summer is all about produce, which is why we can't get enough of the fruits that are around only during this short season, like cotton candy grapes. Perfect for when you need a sweet treat but don't want to sabotage your beach bod, these grapes look and smell just like regular green grapes but have a distinct flavor identical to that of the sugary, fluffy treat you enjoyed as a kid (and adult) at carnivals and fairs.

The cotton candy grape is a hybrid variety of grape created by horticulturist David Cain and his team at the International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield, California—without genetic modification or artificial flavoring—and showcases the grape’s naturally sweet flavor. The process takes anywhere from six to 15 years, Cain tells NPR.

The goal of Cain and his partners at the Grapery, a grape-growing company responsible for distributing the cotton candy grape, was to bring back qualities typically stripped at the request of retailers so that grapes look more perfect and last longer on shelves.

The cotton candy grape has developed a cult-like following with fans eagerly awaiting their arrival in stores come early August. Then, the sugary sweets disappear for the season at the end of September.

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These hot-ticket fruits are perfect for cheese boards, fruit plates or as just a poolside snack, so don’t forget to mark your calendar or you just might miss them.

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