[NAFEX] rating pears

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sat May 9 13:04:52 EDT 2009

Olympic is hands down my favorite Asian, meaning I'll actually eat a few.
It has a particularly appealing texture that is hard to describe, like a
crisp melon.  I used to love them but now as my taste buds move into
senility I'm not as crazy about all sugar- no aromatics (although I still
love Fuyu Pesimmons).  You can talk about butterscotch, but at this point I
prefer European pears.  All the Asians I grow are fine off the tree, by the
way.  I agree with Ed's description of subtle change in storage and I think
I like them better within a month of harvest- a little more snap.

I actually find the necessity of picking pears early to be exaggerated in my
experience but it's partially subjective I'm sure and possibly even affected
by local weather.  I prefer my Bartletts firm and sweet right off the tree.
Seckel can be tree ripened or picked a week or 2 early for storage (not more
than 2 months).  Bosc doesn't get gritty on me when I leave it on the tree
to near dead ripeness (but still crisp).  I picked some Harrow Sweets from
my nursery last year that were already fully ripe and they were as good as
any pear I've grown here.  They were soft ripe and almost Comice-like in
lusciousness (Think Harry and David).  I'll probably regret posting such a
positive revue on such meager evidence, however.

Highland and Aurora both seem to benefit from picking while still hard but
sweet and will rot inside when they're just right outside if left on the
tree.  They still don't display that illusive grittiness you would expect
from the literature  when tree-ripened.  I get better sugar from HIghland-
very good quality but I haven't tasted Aurora growing under true full sun
although I manage a couple.  I prefer later pears anyway, when my palate
isn't cluttered  with hours old memories of plums and peaches.

Don't care for Anjou or Red Bartlett as grown here so can't give you a
report on them.  Anjou seems highly susceptible to scab.  Harrow Delight is
easy and precocious and very reliable with good pears, but who needs
pears so early?  It also gets internal rot if softened on the tree.  The
rest of the pears I grow, I've either lost the names or they have yet to
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