In the 1950's, Jacob Paulk began farming just as his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather did. As cotton was on the decline in the 70's, Jacob decided to plant his first muscadine grape vine. Little did he know that six generations after the Paulk family began farming the very same land, Paulk Vineyards would be instrumental in developing the commercial muscadine grape market and a pioneer in developing muscadine grape dietary supplementsâ€¦ a powerhouse of health benefits!
The vineyard started as just a few vines in Jacob's backyard. Because muscadine grapes are native and familiar to individuals throughout the southeast, he started selling the grapes to individuals in the local area. On one occasion, he tried selling them to a wholesale distributor in Jacksonville, FL. This wholesaler didn't happen to know what the muscadine grapes were and commented that he couldn't sell them. Jacob then went to a local roadside marketer to offer him the muscadines. He knew what the muscadines were, and when he asked how to buy more of the muscadine grapes without driving 2 Â½ hours, Jacob referred him to the wholesaler. Needless to say, the wholesaler called Jacob with orders for muscadine grapes in just a very short time!
In the early 1990s, researchers at Mississippi State University discovered that muscadine grapes are higher in fiber, zinc, iron, and calcium than most fruits. They also found significant levels of resveratrol and other heart-healthy benefits in the muscadine grapes. Research by the University of Georgia has now identified muscadine grape seeds and skins as having one of the highest levels of ellagic acid, a substance shown to inhibit the growth of abnormal cells, and total antioxidants of any tested fruit.
Because of these many health benefits, Jacob decided to test the health benefits on himself. Jacob had open-heart surgery when he was in his 40's, and today he is as healthy as ever. He developed a 100% muscadine grape seed capsule from the grape seeds. He also developed a muscadine grape skin powder, Purple Power, to offer another product that provides the many preventative heart-healthy benefits of the muscadine grapes. He drinks the 100% purple muscadine grape juice on a regular basis, takes the muscadine grape seed capsules daily, and mixes the muscadine grape skin powder into a smoothie with flax seed each morning for breakfast.
Today, because of many blessings and years of hard work, Paulk Vineyards is the largest grower of muscadine grapes in the world. Jacob, along with two of his four sons, Gary and J.W., Jr., and Gary's son, Chris, who manages the value-added focus of the business, make up three generations of the Paulk family that are currently involved in the operation.