It was a sweet deal for neighbours, but raccoons in the Beach Triangle are squealing sour grapes.
A pair of enterprising 14 year-olds, Anna Khouzam and Nick Gryguc, picked a bumper crop of Concord grapes from the yard at Nick’s grandfather’s house in August — enough for 96 jars of home-made grape jelly that they sold to neighbours for $5 a jar.
“You can really taste the grape,” said Anna, adding that the tasty jelly was well worth a day of picking and the bad three-hour movie they watched while stemming and juicing the grapes at home.
That night, the Gryguc kitchen was filled with the sound of grape mash dripping through cheesecloth into dozens of containers.
For local raccoons, it was the sound of defeat.
In the 15 years since she planted the Concord vines at what is now her father’s house on Elmer Avenue, Nick’s mother Michelle Wolfson says the grapes have always been picked clean by raccoons. It wasn’t until they removed an old mulberry tree that was shading the yard last year that they finally beat the bandits — the tree was the only thing the raccoons could climb to reach the fruit.
Besides being a sweet way to make money, Wolfson said she was proud to see Nick and Anna keeping up the same fruit-growing tradition that her late mother grew up with outside Newmarket, Ontario. Even here in the Beach, she said her mother enjoyed growing red currants, white gooseberries and blackberries so humongous “you can only eat one at a time.”
“This was their idea,” she said of the young entrepreneurs.
“All I did was the dishes.”