This year marks the 150th anniversary of Dr. Thomas B. Welch's creation of unfermented grape juice! Dr. Tom, a staunch supporter of the temperance movement, originally marketed his product to churches because he felt they should not use wine in communion services. His son, Dr. Charles Welch, later saw the potential in public sales and began marketing it to a wider audience at the 1892 World's Fair in Chicago. Since America was experiencing a "health craze" at the time, the response was overwhelming! Grape juice became so popular that it even was recommended for use in recipes and poured over cereal. Unfortunately, when a blight struck the local grape crop, Welch's relocated first to Pennsylvania then to New York, where the family had first settled when they emigrated to America. But grape juice continued to be produced locally by the Vineland Grape Juice Company and smaller firms like Raisch's and Tuller's. We thank Dr. Welch for his contribution to American culture that remains popular even today.
Long before the appearance of "Boardwalk Empire," many authors set their stories against a South Jersey backdrop. See how many look familiar and how many you should add to your reading list!