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All About Pears

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Pollination requirements for pears differ, depending on where they are grown.  In most cases, pears are more or less self-fruitful; however, the home gardener will yield a better crop with another variety nearby. 

Pests and Disease
Fireblight and coddling moth are the most serious pests, although pear slug can spoil the looks of the foliage.  A regular spray schedule is best.  Dormant oil spray or dormant disease control will help insure a healthy crop by killing overwintering insect eggs.  Further insect control can be achieved by spraying with Fruit & Vegetable Insect Control or Master Nursery Pest Fighter, or Garden Insect Spray three times at one week intervals when 80% of the blossoms are dead.  Fireblight can also be treated by spraying with Agristrep-Agrimycin when blossoms begin to appear and repeating at 5 day intervals until all late blossom is over.  Select fireblight resistant varieties as recommended.  A fungicide may be applied to guard against diseases such as mildew.

Thinning & Harvesting
You don’t need to thin, but if a very heavy crop sets, remove damaged or undersized specimens a few weeks before a harvest.  Most fruits are best when picked ripe or nearly so.  Pears are the exception.  A tree-ripe pear breaks down and turns soft and brown at the core.  Always harvest pears when they have reached full size but are still green and very firm.  Hold them in a cool, dark place if you intend to eat them within a few weeks.  For longer storage, refrigerate the harvested fruit, then remove it from cold storage about a week before you want to use it.  Pears ripen faster if they are held with other pears in a poorly ventilated spot.  For faster ripening, place several in a bag together.

Asian Pears
Also known as the Oriental pear, Chinese pear, salad pear, and apple pear, Asian pears are delicious and distinctively flavored.  In contrast to European or Hybrid pears, Asian pears remain firm and are especially crisp and juicy when ripe.  Asian pears should be allowed to ripen on the tree.  Ripe fruit can be stored for 10-14 days at room temperature and much longer under refrigeration.  Asian pears are self-fertile, but close presence of another variety (including European and Hybrid) will greatly increase yield.

Due to the uncertainty of wholesale grower stock, trucking, and weather, all varieties will not be available at all times.  Although we do have the ability to special order some stock, we make no guarantee of its arrival and cheerfully encourage alternate selections.

Available Varieties

Bartlett   Medium-to-large, thin-skinned yellow fruit.  The flesh is very sweet and tender, fine for eating, but a good canner, too.  In cold climates, it sets poorly without a pollinator.  Use any variety but Seckel.
Bosc   Another French pear with long, narrow, heavily russeted fruit.  The flesh is firm, even crisp, with a heavy perfume that makes some people consider it among the very finest pears.  An excellent choice to be eaten fresh
Chojuro (Asian)  Medium, round.  Greenish-brown to russet brown skin.  Flesh white, mildly sweet, very firm texture, crisp, somewhat coarse, good quality, good aroma. 
Comice   The large, round fruit is green to yellow-green with a tough skin.  This sweet, aromatic, and juicy pear is the finest for eating but is not recommended for canning.  It sets fruit better with a pollinator.
D’Anjou   A French pear with large, green fruit with a stocky neck.  The flesh is of a rather mild flavor, not especially juicy, but firm.  Use it for eating or canning.
Flemish Beauty   Medium to large, roundish, yellow with pronounced red blush.  Fine flavor.
Gourmet   Medium sized, greenish yellow to yellow fruit with thick but tender skin.  Flesh is yellowish, crisp, juicy and sweet.  Good dessert pear.
Housi (Asian)  Medium to large.  Golden russeted skin.  Juicy, sweet, flavorful, fine textured flesh.  Crisp and refreshing like an apple.  Good keeper.
Kieffer   Large yellow fruit is often gritty.  Excellent for cooking and canning.  Keeps well in storage.  High resistance to fireblight.
Luscious   Juicy, sweet, medium to small bright yellow fruit.  Excellent dessert pear.
Moonglow   The flavor is mild and used for canning and eating fresh.  This is a variety resistant to fireblight.
Nijiseiki (Asian)  Medium, round. Thin, yellow-green skin.  Firm juicy, cream-white flesh, unusual flavor.  Food for fresh eating and canning
Parker   This medium to large pear is yellow with a red blush.  The flesh is white, juicy, and pleasantly sweet. 
Patten   Greenish-yellow skinned.  Tender & juicy - good for eating. 
Red Sensation   Large fruit with a dark red blush that almost completely covers the fruit.  The flesh is white, juicy, and tender.  Self-fertile or pollinized by any variety other than Bartlett.
Seckel   A small, yellow-brown fruit with the finest aroma and flavor of any garden pear.  Eat it fresh or use the small fruit whole for spiced preserves.  Very fireblight resistant.  Sets fruit best with a pollinator.  Use any variety but Bartlett.
Shinseiki (Asian)  Medium, round.  Yellow, thick, fairly smooth skin.  White, sweet, mild, firm, slightly coarse, crisp, and juicy flesh.  Good quality.  Stores extremely well.
Summercrisp   Fruit is ready to harvest when it appears crisp and green with a red blush.  Sweet crisp flavor.  May be stored for up to 2 months.
Twentieth Century (Asian)  Medium, round.  thin, yellow-green skin.  Firm, juicy, cream-white flesh, unusual but pleasing flavor.  Good for eating fresh and canning
Ya Li (Asian)  Large, bell-shaped fruit.  Greenish-yellow skin is usually russet free.  Mild, tender, white flesh.  Sweet-tart flavor.  Stores extremely well.  Pollinate with Tsu Li.  

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