[NAFEX] RE: pear rootstocks; why grow them?

Moyer, Richard ramoyer at king.edu
Tue Nov 26 13:13:09 EST 2002

Hopefully Ed Fackler will weigh in on Pear Rootstocks for Zone 5-6.  Upon
his recommendation, OHxF 333 has done well here in East Tenn for blight and
drought resistance, plus vigor.  Has performed roughly equal to Callery

Chris asked for opinions on why grow Euro pears:
>On pears, I think I may have stated this before, but regarding Euro pears,
>(and I probably like a good pear better than many apples), what is the 
>incentive for home raising them?  Since some of the best varieties are
>for a fairly low price, and since they have to be picked before they are 
>ripe anyway, what's the point? Not trying to start a fire- and/or a food-
>but am looking for other's opinions.  Thanks, crm

Chirs, here's why we grow pears:
Wendell Berry promotes this wisdom for many areas of life: "Shorten your
supply lines".
There's a myth in East Tenn that quality pears will not grow here.  I'd like
to demonstrate local pear production, especially for those scared of
fireblight and Keiffer texture.  (ARS pear breeder Richard Bell is making
significant progress in these areas.) As an educator, I've never forgotten a
neighbor in Oregon scared to eat their own pears, so bought theirs in the
store while cursing the mess in their yard that had to be hauled to the
street.  We offered to help!
Greg Reighard stressed at a Clemson NAFEX meeting 10 years ago that pears
are the easiest tree fruit to grow.  Mine require much less effort than
apples. We try to model to local folks that they can produce quality,
blemish-free fruit in their yard, with little to no spray, and pears fit
this bill.
We also grow pears for calories.  With 4 kids and #5 on the way, we consume
fruit by the bushel, not pounds.  Pears can fill up a hungry, active kid,
and they pick their own for several months.  We trade pears for meat, milk,
cheese, eggs, etc, because there are so few quality pears produced locally.
I had a request this fall for several bushels of European pears for local
production of new blended fruit products; chutneys, butters, etc.
Could go on, but there's some of our reasons.  I have an online article
written almost 3 years ago:
http://www.king.edu/faculty/moyer/Pears-for-the-Carolinas.pdf; some of the
links need to be updated.
Richard Moyer
East Tenn, Zone 6, Medlar season soon!

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