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'F' as in Frank

A juicy tale

Now here's a juicy tale for you. It's not your standard coffeehouse gossip, but it's juicy nonetheless.

It's a tale that goes back nearly two years, to when Joni and I moved into our home in Sunnyside.

No, no neighborhood gossip here. But this is a juicy tale, nonetheless. We found something in our back yard that until recently we had kind of ignored.

No, no buried bodies found in the back yard or skeletons in the closet.

Actually, this something wasn't so much in our back yard as much as it was climbing a fence in our back yard.

It was-it is-vines of grapes growing in, around and over the ivy in our back yard.

Last fall we could smell the sweet aroma of the dark purple grapes as they ripened big and plump. We grabbed hands full right off the vine and started eating.

Turned out these grapes are full of seeds and rather chewy inside. So we left them on the vine and nibbled occasionally, always careful to spit out the seeds and chewy middle of the grapes.

But, for the most part, the grapes just stayed on the vine. We didn't know what to do with them.

This is where things start to get juicy.

Earlier this summer some family from out of town visited. One family member, a wine expert of sorts, notified me that the grapes we have are Concord, used in juices and jams.

I was given a juicer for my birthday recently and the other day with the grapes ripe for picking I began harvesting our little vineyard for juice.

I ended up with a couple of large containers full of grapes and was actually concerned that this might make too much juice. That maybe we wouldn't be able to drink it all before it spoiled.

My worries were shortlived when I learned my first juicing lesson: it takes a ton of fruit.

Those big containers full of grapes? Made only about a quart by the time the juicer worked its magic.

After I finished off the grapes I learned my second lesson about juicing: it can be a tad on the messy side.

Between the seeds, the skin and that meaty part of the grape I had a bunch of really thick, almost jelly looking gunk to get rid of.

Our harvest didn't amount to a lot of juice and the clean-up took me some time.

I say it took me some time because Joni was in another room in the house doing her college homework, leaving me with the pledge that I would clean up what I had started with the juicer.

She's not a big grape juice fan, but she was patient with the noise and mess I made-and cleaned up.

She even joined me in taking a taste of our fresh juice.

It was then I realized why a lot of folks enjoy juicing.

It makes really good juice. With apologies to Welch's et al, that grape juice that came out of our juicer was way better than anything I'd gotten on a store shelf.

It was sweeter, too, and not dark purple in color, but more of a deep red. Then again, that could be because of the type of grapes we have.

So yes, this was one messy, juicy tale.

And after my first taste, it likely won't be the last.

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