Why Fruit Lovers Should Be Excited About Cold Weather Fruit Trees
Cold weather fruit trees can produce an amazing abundance of tasty food that warmer climates can't match.
Too often, people following raw food diets complain they're not in the tropics and so can't enjoy fresh-harvested exotic produce like rose apples, durian, and sapodilla, but they forget that temperate climates give countries found in North America, much of Europe, and Northern Asia a monopoly on fruits that just won't grow where it's warm.
Often, they're just as tasty as the best tropical fare, but many cold-weather fruits aren't even widely known in the areas where they grow best.
There's no point crying over your inability to grow pineapples and papayas when you can start planting amazing cold-tolerant fruits trees, vines, and shrubs today. Just because local farmers aren't growing anything besides, apples, pears, and peaches doesn't mean there isn't more out there.
Quite the opposite, really; there are so many amazing fruits to try in this world that it's more a question of deciding what ones you want to grow or seek out.
So for a little inspiration, please allow me to present three of my favorite cold tolerant fruit cultivars:
The Hardy Kiwi
A few years back I was visiting a friend in Maine and noticed that his shed was engulfed in some sort of vine.
Taking a closer look, I saw that it was overflowing with green berries. My friend insisted I try one, and as I bit into that juicy treat he informed me I was eating the fruit of one of his four-year-old kiwi vines.
But this wasn't the fuzzy kiwi grown in the warm sun of New Zealand, but a distant, naked cousin developed in the frigid cold of Siberia and Northern China.
As I bit in, I noticed that the fruit was sweeter than any fuzzy kiwi I'd tasted, with flavor hints of pear and banana thrown in. And unlike fuzzy kiwis, I was free to eat the skin (different varieties having green or purple exteriors).
Hardy kiwis can survive chills of up to -30 °F, and actually do better in colder climates. They can grow 20 feet in a year, and my friend collects an average of 60 pounds of fruit off of each vine.
If you've got a vertical structure or trellis that these guys can climb on, hardy kiwi vines can produce a lot of food for you in a very small area.
Cold Weather Fruit Trees: The PawPaw
Of all the cold-tolerant fruit trees available, I think the pawpaw is the most shocking because of how exotic it seems to be.
The pawpaw is the only member of family Annonaceae that grows outside the the tropics and subtropics. Some of its tropical cousins you may have tasted include cherimoya, custard apple, sweetsop, and soursop.
The Native Americans loved this fruit, and although it only grows wildly in the south and west of the United States, through careful stewardship the Indians spread it through the the forests of the eastern, southern, and Midwestern portions of the country. It can be grown as far north as Southern Ontario, and as far west was as the eastern edge of Nebraska, although it requires special care the farther from its home range it gets.
In parts of the United States, pawpaws are becoming popular, and Ohio even has a yearly pawpaw festival.
Pawpaws are the largest fruit that grows in North America, with a taste very similar to its tropical cousins. Although all fruits are unique, people generally compare pawpaws to mangoes mixed with apples or bananas, which, in my opinion, doesn't really do them justice.
The flesh inside ranges from off white to deep yellow, depending on the breed.
Although breeders are trying to increase the fruit's commercial viability, they bruise easily and don't ship well, so you're probably going to have to track down a specialty farmer or grow some yourself.
The plants don't produce much fruit unless they're in full sun, but the trees are more like woody brush than a true tree, and you can place them as the understory of your fruit tree setup.
For hundreds of years Russians have been breeding what may be the most cold-tolerant culinary fruit in the world: honeyberries.
When I first tried them, I was surprised at their strong taste. If you've ever feasted on wild blueberries, I'd say the taste is similar to them rather than commercial blueberries, but there is an additional something that make them unique.
So far, no one has ever seen a honeyberry bush damaged by a cold winter, and they have survived temperatures of nearly -50 °F.
They generally don't do well in the southern United States, and the Northern areas of the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia are where they truly thrive.
Something about the aesthetics of these berries really appeals to me. They're ovular rather than spherical, sometimes resembling bells, and on mature bushes surprisingly large fruit is produced. In short, they're just fun to pop in your mouth and savor.
Cold Weather Fruit Trees: Following Up
These are really just the beginning. I haven't even mentioned American and oriental persimmons, jujubes, gooseberries, shipova, goumi, and many other unusual varieites. Plus you've got the the standbys like apples, peaches, plums, and cantaloupe.
I can't cover them all here, but this was just a introduction to wet your appetite and point out some possibilities. So get to planting!
Learn how you can feast on the the produce of these tasty cold weather fruit trees, and many more, by adopting a healthy raw food diet.
Check out some other fantastic fruit varieties you should try.
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