Black sapphire

Raising black sapphires into grape ‘jewels’

As the name suggests, the grapes of , which are produced in earnest in Jeju from this year, are paying attention to whether they will add power to farm households’ income as a ‘black jewel’.

Jeju High Farming Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Chairman Koh Young-chan) and Jeju City started to grow grapes by promoting the ‘Elite Income Crop Complex Creation Project’ together in 2020. This was to strengthen the competitiveness of farms by changing the agricultural structure centered on winter vegetables and tangerines and to provide a stable income base.

The size of the elite income complex is 29,000 square meters (8773 pyeong), and 12 local farmers agreed. The estimated production this year is 15 tons, and it is expected to increase three to four times as the fruit trees mature and cultivation techniques are accumulated.

Grapes have a high sugar content of around 20 Brix, have no seeds and have a thin skin, so can be eaten with the skin. Because of their elongated shape, they are called ‘eggplant grapes’ or ‘finger grapes’.

Recently, Jeju Jugosan Agricultural Cooperatives and Jeju Agricultural Cooperatives (CEO Hyun Jong-cheol) held a ‘2022 Jeju Black Sapphire Fair and Product Briefing’ at the Multipurpose Hall in Sanyang-ri, Hangyeong-myeon to commemorate the first shipment of grapes.

About 60 people attended the event, including Koh Young-chan, president of the Hankyung Agricultural Cooperative Association, Kim Gun-jin, CEO Hyun Jong-cheol, and growers and wholesale market officials. At this event, the participants exchanged opinions on the process of growing grapes, sales plans, and future enhancements.

The Jeju Tribute Corporation, in charge of the sales, plans to focus on promoting the grapes as they are shipped from Jeju for the first time.

Park Jin-seok, managing director of Jeju Tribute Corporation, said, “We will focus our efforts on promotional activities such as tasting events so that customers can experience and taste as much of Jeju’s grapes as possible.”

There were also voices that the cultivation technology manual should be supplemented and established in order to be selected by more consumers.

An auction company affiliated with a wholesale market corporation said, “We need to develop a technology to reduce the inherent astringency of grapes as soon as possible to survive in the market.” It’s because you’re looking for sweetness,” he explained.

In response, Yoo Young-cheol, president of Sanyang Finger Vineyard, said, “We will be able to reduce the astringent taste by increasing the sugar content.” He added, “We will leave the sales to the Agricultural Cooperatives, and the producers will focus on production.”

“I am grateful to the public service members who endured difficult times while walking a path that no one has gone,” said Koh Koh, adding, “I will fully support production and distribution to put a smile on the face of farmers.”