Jim Beagle had a sugary hit on his hands last year. California's exclusive grower of Cotton Candy Grapes was inundated with email requests for the crunchy fruit with the unmistakable fairground flavor.
Buyers couldn’t get to the handful of grocery chains such as Gelson’s and Sprouts Farmers Market that carried the grapes. So Beagle, chief executive of the Grapery in Bakersfield, started a home-delivery service called GraperyDirect.com that mails a bunch overnight using
"It was insane," said Beagle, who is currently harvesting his grapes. "We got hundreds of emails a day from consumers and every retailer in the country, every produce broker, every middle man and everyone else in between. Our hair was on fire."
Delivering direct allows Beagle to slowly fill the gaps in demand that aren't being satisfied by the mostly high-end grocery stores his company partners with.
Beagle said he recently connected with Cain, who is developing more novelty grapes, including one that's described as a mix of raspberry and lemonade.
"It's in the early stages," Beagle said. "He's a couple years away."
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