Harvesting Grapes With Gemplers

Editor’s note: The Gemplers Test Plot series is created in partnership with Gemplers Farm & Home Supply Co.

Consumers are becoming more and more interested in where their food comes from. For some, the COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity to turn that curiosity into action as folks shifted to working from home.

Whether that action was container gardening or starting a larger operation in the backyard, first-timers need to know what to do with the food coming out of the ground or off of the vine now that harvest is here.

Newbie gardener, Mid-West Farm Report assistant Stephanie Hoff, is trying her hand at harvesting her red table grapes in her backyard. In partnership with Gemplers, she also has the tools she needs to do the job. Since 1939, this family-owned, Wisconsin-based company has been serving the farmers, ranchers and gardeners throughout Wisconsin and across the country.

But first, Hoff calls on UW-Extension fruit specialist and UW-Madison horticulture professor Amaya Atucha to find out when to harvest her grapes and how.

First, red grape growers need to watch for veraison — when the grapes start changing from green to red, Atucha says. This is the first indicator that the fruit are starting to ripen and accumulate sugar. She says growers should start sampling their fruit after veraison, and when the grapes are to their likeness, harvest them.

Another indicator that the grapes are ready to harvest is when the seeds turn from green to brown, in fruit with seeds.

When it comes to harvesting the grapes, Atucha says there’s no science to it — just cut the grape clusters off of the vine and refrigerate!

Hoff uses ARS Grape Scissors and ARS Needlenose Fruit Pruners to harvest her grapes. Gemplers has a wide variety of pruners and loppers, getting you what you need to work smarter and more comfortably on the farm or in the garden. 

See the interview with Atucha, Hoff’s harvest and the tools for grape harvesting here: https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/gemplers-test-plot/