CONCORD, Mass., June 25, 2013 – To celebrate the Concord grape and its rich New England history, food historian and Food Network star Alton Brown is teaming up with Welch’s to pay tribute to this one-of-a-kind fruit and the man behind it all, Ephraim Wales Bull. In a ceremony today at the company’s new headquarters in Concord, MA, Welch’s and Brown will honor Bull with the dedication of a freshly planted vineyard, grown from his original Concord grapevine, cultivated more than 160 years ago.
In the mid-19th century, Ephraim Wales Bull set out to develop a grape that would thrive in the harsh climate and soil of the Northeast. And, in 1849 he achieved his goal when he grew the very first Concord grape, which he named after its birthplace of Concord, MA.
“The Concord grape is one truly American fruit with a history as distinctive as its flavor and health benefits,” shared Brown. “Thanks to Ephraim Bull and the family farmers who followed in his footsteps, Concord grapes have been enjoyed by Welch’s lovers for generations.”
A cooperative of more than 1,000 family farmers owns the Welch’s brand and has preserved Bull’s achievement by working the North American soil to deliver Concord grape goodness year after year. All the Concord vineyards harvested by these family farmers are descendants of Bull’s parent vine.
“Similar to wine, the quality of our juice is a result of where our grapes are grown,” commented Dennis Rak, one of Welch’s family-farmer owners of Fredonia, NY. “Our vineyards continue to thrive in harsh growing conditions and unique microclimates that result in the best-tasting Concord grapes, and therefore, the memorable taste of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice.”
As a testament to the Concord grape’s endurance and its creator’s success, Bull’s original vine still bears fruit on the property where he lived, just up the road from Welch’s headquarters. When the company moved to its new offices earlier this year, employees seized the chance to propagate the original Concord grapevine, celebrating the grape at the heart of Welch’s and the company’s local roots.
“The town of Concord is steeped in American history,” noted Welch’s President and CEO, Brad Irwin. “When we moved our corporate headquarters this year, we were proud to continue to stand with Concord and celebrate our legacy. We’re honored to be able to deepen and extend the connection we have to local heritage.”
Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, Welch’s is the processing and marketing subsidiary of National Grape Cooperative. Welch’s is owned by this cooperative of more than 1,000 family farmers across America and in Ontario, Canada, who grow the delicious and inherently healthy Concord grape used in Welch’s juices and other grape-based products. Welch’s is committed to research and development that will meet the growing demand for products addressing consumers’ health and nutrition needs. Welch’s products are sold throughout the United States and in approximately 50 countries globally. Welch’s is an Equal Opportunity Employer- Minorities/Female/Disabled/Veterans.