For Oregon Quinces farms, Tremaine Arkley and his partner Earl Bruck are a two-man operation. The Bruck family has owned and operated the farm for over 120 years, growing hazelnuts for past 80. Then with the help of Arkley, started growing quince 10 years ago. Arkley, being familiar with this somewhat of a mystery fruit, knew he could market it to the masses.
With 300 plus trees between their two orchards in Wilsonville and Independence, growing quince is their major focus, producing about 10-11 tons of fresh fruit a year. They are the largest quince growers in the Pacific Northwest, with only 250 acres of quince total in the United States. Fall being their big push, as the high season runs from September into November, stopping about the first sign of frost.
"I love it because it’s unique!" Arkley tells us, and it certainly is. Quince isn't something you see every day at your local grocery or even farmers market. About the size large apple or pear with smooth exterior when picked, the fruit is too hard and astringent to be eaten raw. But if you haven't ever smelled a ripe fresh quince, Arkley can confirm "the smell is amazing!" it's an aroma that is extremely fragrant with delicious hints of vanilla and citrus.
Many of the farmers and growers we work with, the common thread is family, and Arkley is no exception. He comes from a Turkish and Jewish background and recalls quince being in many of his grandmother's recipes, so there's an abundance of fond memories for him. So, when we asked him why he loves growing quince, he said "It's really about family." And we couldn't think of a better reason.
For more information on Oregon Quinces visit their website www.oregonquinces.com