Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Muscadines, The Last Frontier

Being a business owner I am always looking for the next big thing or new ways to market or merchandise products.  I recently visited a new clothing store in Griffin that is selling clothing lines that up to this point have only been recognized on southern college campuses. Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, and Vineyard Vines clothing lines occupied most of the store. I thought it was brilliant that the business owner was introducing high quality clothes that most people were unaware of the brands. I mean really, who wants to go to a backyard cook out and everyone is wearing either Columbia or Polo shirts.

I know everyone is waiting for my angle so here it comes. Did you know that muscadine fruit is only available once a year? Did you know that the fruit is only offered in grocery store chains mainly in the southeast, roughly there are about 12 states that offer the fruit and usually not on a consistent basis? Everyone is looking for the next big thing, an uncovered gem or unlimited marketing capabilities.

Muscadines give the opportunity to introduce a new product to a new target area with little or no competition and it offers health benefits to its consumers. This whole time I have been looking for the next big thing and it has been surrounding me this whole time.

A ten acre planting of muscadines would require about two thousand plants. 2000 vines x 50 pounds per plant would equal 100,000 lbs of fruit. 100,000 lbs of fruit would fill about 100,000 clam shells  x $2.00/lb would gross revenue about $200,000 for a 10 acre planting. I have not even mentioned the possiblilty of shipping fruit to our Canadian friends to the north or our Latino friends to the south.

I often ask myself why has no one ventured out and grabbed this opportunity. Potential road blocks could be that people outside of the south do not know what muscadines are, logistics or if growers can sell all they can grow in the south why sell to other areas.

We have been active in marketing our vines in all the states that can successfully grow muscadines. I look forward to the time where our fellow Nebraskans or Arizonians go to there local grocer and see muscadines on the shelves. I only hope someone can send me the video of the expression and the results of the moment when they pop the muscadine in their mouth and the juice runs down their chin.

Now that the world is discovering just how healthy muscadines are for you their popularity has soared and we are still at the very beginning.  Do a little research on-line and google muscadine health.  You will be amazed. Dr. Oz even featured muscadine juice recently as a way to fight cancer on one of his shows. 

So if you have just a little bit of land - there is tremendous opportunity with this amazing southern fruit. 

Food for Thought,
Greg Ison
Ison's Nursery & Vineyard