Pears

The supremely misunderstood fruit, the pear is that hard, dry, flavorless but interestingly shaped stepsister of the green apple in the public mind ... when it is thought of at all. This because so few persons know that the pear is harvested while still hard, then is to be refrigerated for a time before it is allowed to ripen at room temperature into the most subtly liquescent of our fruits, with a texture that melts away leaving only the essence of aroma and sweetness to linger in the mouth. It is one of the few fruits that modern supermarket commerce can get right: cold storage followed by a spell at workplace temperature produces a pear in perfect condition to take home and eat in a few days. And yet, the choice in the market is limited to but two or three types, invariably held over in storage for months beyond their proper pull date. 'Bartlett' should not be seen beyond the end of September, and 'Comice' not long after Christmas. The industry loves 'Anjou' which is practically indestructible and its fruits deteriorate in cold storage so slowly that they are practically unchanged a year from harvest! We offer varieties not available elsewhere, to extend the season beyond that of garden-center pears and introduce our public to the finest of pears. Each is a slightly different revelation of how good a fruit can be, and justifies its space in the home orchard. The pear is especially the fruit of the French-speaking world and for that reason, the vocabulary of pear varieties is a foreign one. There is no better way to learn a new language! Pears are not reliably self-fertile so it is best to plant two different varieties. The great scourge of pears is fireblight, a bacterial disease that starts in the terminal growths by mid-spring and works downward. It stops its course of destruction when it pleases, sometimes sparing the branch, other times consuming the tree to its graft union. It is particularly virulent, and its start not limited to infections of flowers, where early season heat is experienced. We do not recommend growing pears from San Jose southward for that reason. The culture of garden pears is progressively easier in the northward direction.