Grapes will be joining peanuts and Cracker Jack as ballpark favorites if the Fresno-based California Table Grape Commission has its way.

"Grapes by their season and by their nature are a nice fit for baseball," said Jim Howard, commission vice president.

Grapes get swing at the big leagues in San Francisco
Courtesy California Table Grape Commission

That's why the commission will conduct a pilot project with the San Francisco Giants that will make California table grapes available at the club's ballpark this summer.

Grapes will be sold at three locations at the park, and the program will be supported with a sign promoting grapes behind home plate and by a T-shirt day in early August when the first 20,000 fans will get a free T-shirt with a California grapes logo.

The commission also will work with a Northern California retailer and conduct a display contest to encourage produce managers to tie in table grapes and the Giants.

Howard hopes the program will be so successful that grapes eventually will be linked with baseball at stadiums nationwide.

"We're tracking all of the sales numbers so that we can have the data we need for a case study to take out to other ballparks all around the country," he said.

Howard wants to establish an association between baseball and table grapes among baseball fans everywhere, starting at Little League level. It makes sense because grapes are a neat, healthful outdoor snack, Howard said.

By starting with the big leagues and allowing the idea to trickle down to kids, the commission will follow a strategy that worked well with another foodservice program - grapes as an ingredient.

In that case, the commission started by promoting grapes as an ingredient at high-end restaurants and watched the idea trickle down year after year to larger chains and eventually to fast-food eateries, Howard said.