This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
We received on the 12th of June, in excellent order, from John Fisk Allen, Esq., of Salem, Mass., some fine samples of forced grapes, and among the rest a new seedling originated by him. This seedling, a cross between the Griazly Frontignan and the Verdelto, is very rich in flavor, resembling mott nearly the Grizzlyy Frontignan - but quite distinct from that variety. The cluster is not large - 'but compact and well formed - the berries round, of medium size, white, tinged with gray-rose. Its fine flavor will be appreciated by those who like the Muscat flavor, and if this new sort, which has not yet been fairly tested, fulfills the promise it holds out, it will, we think, be found a decided acquisition for the vinery.
The Black Hamburghs which accompanied the above, were very finely colored, and of the finest possible flavor.
A most welcome subject - an American Seedling grape from foreign varieties, as I understand it. As Mr. Allen was kind enough to send me, through your hand, a specimen of this beautiful production, for which he has my thanks, I can fully confirm the good opinion you express of it. The muscat flavor, to my own taste, is altogether to its credit, and I cannot but hope Mr. A.'s success in its cultivation, will meet his wishes.
The seedling grape of Dr. Valk, of Long-Island, described in the June Horticulturist! if he be not quite mistaken in its qualities, is an achievement in the hardy grape cutlure of the United States. Aside from the Isabella and Catawba, we have scarcely a good out-of-door table grape for the northern states. These, when they ripen well, are delicious and perfectly satisfactory grapes - and that is praise enough. But we do want a good table grape that is hardj in the open air at Boston, Albany, Buffalo, Milwaukie and Prairie du Chien; and if at Montreal, so much the better. At neither of these places can the Isabella or Catawba be depended on, and neither are fit for haunt culture, not producing their fruit in such high perfection as when suitably located in the open air. Dr. Valk is entirely right in resisting all applications for slips and buds of his vine, until he has thoroughly tested it under his own eye, and for a term of time in which he shall become perfectly satisfied of its productiveness, high flavor, and hardiness - wonderfully different in this from the empirics who flood and cheat the country with their new nostrums, before knowing whether they are worth the moss they are packed in, or not.
If Dr. Valk succeeds in the anticipated qualities of his grape, his honesty of purpose will be amply rewarded in his success, even if he fail to produce his " ten, twenty, or a hundred thousand plants*' for sale. But this he can do likewise. The latest discovery which I have noticed in the " native grape" invention, is from a Yankee manufactory, at Stafford, Connecticut, which I have seen figured, and published in sundry papers, and advertised extensively, with testimonials to match, from the neighborhood of the " Stafford Iron Works," all up to the mark in describing its " great size," "soft pulp," "thin skin," and " delicious flavor." Wonder if the " soft" pulp is soluble in aquafortis ! I was once at Stafford "Springs," and if that salubrious region of huckleberries, sweet fern, and iron ore, spontaneously produces such grapes as arc thus described, it must be a rare spot of earth, indeed. Connecticut - all New-England as well - is full of small rapid streams, on the narrow bottoms or intervales of which, grow thousands of wild grapes of many varieties, both in size and color, but with pulp as hard and indigestible as bullets; and this new " Charter Oak" grape, as it is so pretentiously called, to all appearance, is one of the same unadulterated type, which I have often plucked in my younger days, of equal size, and no doubt corresponding flavor.
Of course, boys love grapes, and I often felt, when gasping to get their coarse, hard pulps down my throat, much as a young turkey looks when trying to swallow an acorn larger than its own head! But the " invention" has gone forth, and no doubt long before this, the peddlers of the grape are abroad, with vines duly labelled, and certificates amply verified, to edify the good country people with this " unrivalled discovery." A safe deliverance to the poor mortals who have to eat them! The only marvel in the whole affair is, that this wondrous fruit has never found its way "to the Editor of the Horticulturist".