Monday I went out to my father's farm for the last time this year. I tagged along with a friend who was gathering grapes for jam, juice and pies. Despite the snow on the ground, there were still quite a few bunches on the vines. We only spent a short time there, and managed to walk off with a decent haul.
My father was a grape farmer for many years. Now he's largely retired, though he still works for a friend during trimming season. He's sold off the bulk of his land, but maintains a few rows and several varieties: Concord, the classic North American purple grape, popular for juice, jam and kosher wine; Niagara, a sweet green grape that's part Concord and part Cassidy, makes a lovely white grape juice; Pink Catawba, good for making rose and sparkling wines; Steuben, a large, sweet blue-black grape that's delicious right off the vine and can be used to produce dessert wine; and an unknown (and addictive) small, red seedless variety.