Temperate Fruit & Orchards > Temperate Fruit Discussion

Karp's Sweet Quince, and other Quince for eating raw

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--- Quote from: Caesar on October 26, 2016, 11:42:32 PM ---What's the chill hour requirement? Can it be grown in a chill-free zone? I know that's the case with low-chill apples, pears and stonefruit, with an up to 200 hour requirement (the lower the better), but I'm not sure about Quince.

--- End quote ---
I believe quince can be grown in zone 10, although it's not as productive. It prefers zone 9. However, the quince in Mexico may be in an altogether different category, as it has adapted to some extent to local climatic conditions over the course of many generations of being grown there (very often being propagated by seed). Something peculiarly interesting, unlike other quince varieties, 'Karp's Sweet' does not appear to behave deciduously here, not losing its leaves in the winter.

Some people have noted that Karp's Sweet does not appear to be as productive, in terms of fruit, as other varieties, but that could just be because it is a hardier variety, so it could take more years until it becomes more productive. Fruit trees whose growth is stunted (e.g. by rootstock) tend to be more precocious, producing fruit at an earlier age. (of course the growth being stunted too much isn't a good thing either) The point is that Karp's Sweet appears to have adapted to the semi-tropical climate where its lineage existed for many generations, so maybe, I would speculate, there is less of a need for it to go through a cycle of dormancy in order for it to be productive. This would likely be true for many other Latin American quinces as well, though I do not have any experience with them.

One thing I will say is that quince stands up better to heat and dry conditions than apple, so it is particularly suitable to Southern California in that sense. A quince tree can also be fairly drought tolerant after it has had time to become established.

Conversely, quince is very prone to disease in climates with high heat combined with high humidity. All this is not surprising when you consider the part of the world where quince comes from. Quince can be grown as far north as Maine or Nova Scotia however.

I've had fruit set issues here with Karp's Sweet, but my Pineapple does get soft enough to eat fresh if you leae it on the tree.

Here's my Karp's Sweet quince tree:

There are several blossoms on it. No fruit yet.

Apparently, at least for me in climate zone 10, Karp's Sweet does behave deciduously, but not absolutely entirely since there were 3 green leaves (albeit a little brown) left on it throughout the winter.

From the research I've been reading, it seems like 'Crimea' and 'Kuganskaya' may be good varieties for eating raw. One source commented that Kuganskaya appeared to be inferior to Aromatnaya in every way (fruit size, aroma of the fruit, disease resistance) so they pulled the tree out of the ground. But another source I read commented that, while Aromatnaya was good for fresh eating, it didn't have as much flavor as Kuganskaya. It might be a personal preference thing, or maybe they should have waited longer to let their tree mature to see if the fruit quality improved. I'm sure these different Russian varieties are all very similar but there may be subtle good things to these particular cultivars.

So I got these two and put them in the ground. (They are at a different location, zone 8a. That should make things interesting, I can compare how much of an effect chill hours have on productivity.)
Will let you know after they produce fruit.

From the descriptions they sound very mild, sweeter and a bit softer than regular quince, and non-astringent. But I haven't actually got to personally taste them yet.

Here's a picture that appeared in the LA Times of Peruvian Apple Quince taken at the Santa Monica farmer's market:

The particular fruit being sold at the stand was grown by Weiser Family Farms in Tehachapi, but this variety came from Edgar Valdivia, who was the first to grow it in the U.S. This same variety is also sometimes referred to as "Karp's Sweet", in no small part because Karp was the one who wrote the article and took this picture.



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