[NAFEX] pear ID help?

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Thu Aug 14 10:28:45 EDT 2008

There is a nice pear tree in town right next to a Bradford of the same size, so I'm sure this one was mislabeled and sold as an ornamental.  I thought it was the same as mine, but now that mine is finally cropping, they are plainly different.  The tree in town has medium to small pears, started light green with a smooth skin, those in the sun have a nice red blush.  Some blew down in a storm and someone cut the lower branches and left them there, so I picked up a bunch and picked as many as I could reach, have been giving them away.  A few people practically swooned over them.  When underripe they are rather astringent, when full ripe they are very sweet, melting, with some flavor supplied by the skin.  I am assuming they are Ayers, which is sold in the south though I don't know as I have ever seen one before.  Maybe once 25 years ago.  Ayers is said to resemble Seckel, though judging by the parentage (Anjou X Late Faulkner, which is similar to Kieffer) I think someone got their records mixed up.  
    The office manager brought in some of her pears that also fell off in the storm and I thought at first they were the same as mine.  The skin is rougher like mine, but hers have convoluted bases and mine is flat on the base.  Hers has a lot more red than mine, but maybe that's just on the sunny side of the tree.  Hers is shinier though for sure.  Both hers and mine are further from being ripe, the seeds on mine are just turning dark.  When cut and sampled underripe, both hers and mine are tarter and lack astringency compared to the town tree.  Any notions?  I am guessing that one or both of our trees are Moonglow, which comes in 3 weeks later than Ayers.  
    The Kieffers are of course a long way from being ripe.  I made up a chutney recipe and made 3 pints out of the "Ayers" and some peaches, but I'm telling people just eat the early ones, they are too good to cook and there will be plenty of Kieffers for that.  I have been combing through Corvallis's listings with a fine tooth comb looking for other late pears that are blight resistant.  It's no good telling me that Shinko will keep for 5 months if it comes in in August in the south and has to be refrigerated.  Tennessee will refrigerate itself later on, that's what I'm looking for.  I note that Duchess is quite late and there is at least one cross of Duchess and Kieffer, called Douglas, which was sold by Gurneys in years past.  Anyone familiar with Douglas?  It's got a reputation like both it's parents for cropping young, and is supposed to better than Kieffer.  I grafted a tree this spring, am waiting with bated breath.    Donna 
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