The summer heat in Bakersfield California welcomes you like your great-aunt Sally, with a hug the second you step out of the air-conditioned car. It closes in on you and squeezes you with a VERY warm welcome – leaving you with no place to run. Your body works quickly to adapt to the drastic change in temperature that caused you to feel as if you have lost your breath … so you breathe in deeply to adjust, but it’s no use, it’s 105 degrees and the air is peacefully still. There is music playing in the distance and for the workers carefully harvesting the grapes in the beating sun, this is another day at the office.
For me, walking through the vineyard, listening intently to the farmer tell his story was life changing. Learning, savoring, and witnessing their rituals transformed the way I think about grapes and the consumers who buy them. Like children who have too many toys to choose from, we have become picky, careless, and spoiled. We have become a generation of fast food loving people who have lost touch with what it takes for the farmers to produce a crop that would be sold for … 99 cents a pound?
We want green grapes that are GREEN, but I bet you didn’t know the best tasting grapes are sometimes yellow.
We do not want to be bothered with seeds at all … or with skin on the grapes that is too thick.
We want the grapes to be perfect in color,shape, and size, and God forbid that they fall off the stem too soon.
These days farmers are expected to do all of these things and be earth conscious-green-sustainable-organic providers.
Imagine a farmer who was earth conscious because he loved the land, and grew grapes for flavor? Imagine a company who finds these kinds of heirloom growers and brings them to the market where you and I shop? Imagine how thrilled I am to be a part of the process of introducing you to the farmer, Melissa’s Produce, and Bristol Farms! Now all that is left is for you to taste these grapes, because there are no words colorful enough to paint a masterpiece to mirror the flavor of these Muscato Grapes, that were grown for flavor.
Believe me when I tell you, wanting to buy grapes for 99 cents a pound is like wanting to buy a Groupon for a root canal. Quality matters, especially when it comes to your food.
For more information and recipes using Muscato Grapes visit;
A Communal Table – Muscato Grape Olive Oil Cake
Presley’s Pantry – Chipotle Grape Lamb Skewers
|Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Muscato Grapes|| || |
- 4 boneless, skins on, chicken breasts
- 1 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary – finely chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 ½ Tablespoons
- 4 cups Melissa’s Produce Muscato Grapes
- 1 large clove of fresh garlic- minced
- 2 large shallots- thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary – finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator and allow the chicken to come to come to room temperature – about 15 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
- Season your chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
- In a large oven proof skillet or cast iron skillet heat 1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
- Just when the oil is hot, but not smoking- add in chicken breasts skin side down.
- Turn the chicken when the skin has become golden brown - about 3-4 minutes.
- Cook the chicken on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and add in grapes, garlic, shallots, rosemary, and vinegar, 2 additional Tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cook the grapes and shallots over medium heat just until the shallots begin to soften – about 2 minutes.
- Place the chicken skin side up onto the top of the grapes and shallots and place into the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm.