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Quince trees

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Quinces are a tree of antiquity, having been grown for many centuries in central Asia, the Middle East, and the wider Mediterranean region, and Europe. Today the top quince producing countries are Turkey, China, Uzbekistan, Iran, Morocco, Azerbaijan, and Argentina. For various reasons they have fallen out of favour in North America, but I think they deserve a place in a home orchard. 

They can't be eaten raw like an apple; they must be cooked, stewed, or preserved in other ways. When cooked they emit an incredible floral smell and have a delicious flavour. Quince has long been used in candied treats like Turkish Delight, and quince cheeses like membrillo. For example, the word marmalade comes from the word for Portuguese quince jam, marmelada. 

Pollination: Quince trees are self-pollinating, so you only need one to make fruit - and one tree will likely produce more than enough for one home.

Parentage: Quinces are pome fruits, and, like the two most popular pome fruits, apples and pears, they originate from the Caucasus mountains. Our quince trees are seedlings we grow from healthy parent trees from our region - decades-old trees who live in Cambridge, Burlington, and Hamilton. They've proven themselves hardy to the many stresses of urban life, and they produce large, fragrant fruits. 

Please note, these trees are not the same as the Japanese flowering quince shrubs that are a somewhat popular spiny ornamental shrub. Those produce a similarly fragrant fruit, but they are smaller and smooth-skinned, rather than large and fuzzy like the quinces we sell.

References

Quince production statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Image: National Park Service/Luther Bailey.