What is in this article?:
- Farmers learning lessons in value-added fruit production
- Unique marketing approach
• Growers have learned another lesson in recent years: Don't assume a by-product has no value.
A SELLING STATION at a large farmers' market, like this one in Raleigh, N.C., can offer many more consumers than a stand in the country.
Unique marketing approach
MotherVine has successfully portrayed the supplement as yielding all the preventative and restorative health benefits that consumers seek from products of this nature, without the unknowns of supplements that aren’t all natural. A promising new market has been developed.
Since the introduction of the supplement, MotherVine and other companies have introduced many new neutraceutical products using muscadines.
Muscadine grapes are powerful health foods because of the diverse and complex phytochemicals found in the whole grape, said Amy Odom, president of MotherVine.“Resveratrol is just one of the many nutrients found in muscadines, which are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-UV radiation, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer," she said.
MotherVine also includes honey and blueberries in some of its products. And it now also sells jams and jellies, juices and soaps, among many other things.
More are coming. Odom is particularly optimistic about skin care products based on the muscadine. “We plan soon on having a non-toxic sunscreen,” she said. “Along with creams and soaps, it should promote healing and healthfulness of the skin.”
MotherVine gets both its name and — indirectly — its raw product from the centuries-old vineyard on Roanoke Island.
The Mother Vine, thought to be the nation's oldest cultivated vine, grows from the sandy soil in sight of Roanoke Sound in several thick clusters of woody roots. The trellising covers an area 32 feet wide and 120 feet long.
The vine is privately owned and the owners make personal use of the grapes they harvest from it.
But in 2004, with the permission of the private owners, clippings were taken directly from the vine and used to establish The MotherVine Vineyard near Rose Hill, N.C. Operated by Duplin Winery, this vineyard is the primary source of MotherVine's grapes.
Steve Drew, executive vice-president of MotherVine pointed out an irony about the growth of the muscadine industry in North Carolina. It has taken place at more or less the same time as tobacco has declined after federal deregulation in 2004.
“As growers look to take advantage of the land that has been freed up from tobacco, they have frequently found that muscadines are a good substitute for tobacco on land that has been in tobacco for a long time,” Drew said. “In other words, a crop with a problem related to health is being replaced by perhaps the healthiest agricultural crop there is!”