Pears

You can enjoy the unique flavors of fresh-picked, homegrown fruit from small backyard trees.

By Marc Vassallo

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Pick of the Pears
The Classics

'Anjou' Sweet, juicy, handsome dessert pear; cold-hardy; typically ripens in late September but needs two months' storage to reach perfection. 
Harvest time: Late 

'Bartlett' Picked green, ripens to yellow; sweet, musky flavor; the number-one commercial variety, but highly susceptible to fire blight. Will not cross- pollinate with 'Seckel'. Sweet, juicy, handsome dessert pear; cold-hardy; typically ripens in late September but needs two months' storage to reach perfection.
Harvest time: Midseason

'Bosc' Hard, crisp, grainy flesh with russet brown skin; tolerates heat and cold; grows in clay soil; keeps for six months in cold storage.
Harvest time: Late

'Comice' Luscious, buttery dessert pear; round, with smooth, green skin, blushed with red; good keeper; pronounced cahm-EECE.
Harvest time: Late

'Seckel' Small, supersweet; coppery red to golden brown; used to be considered resistant to fire blight, now considered susceptible. Will not cross-pollinate with 'Bartlett'.
Harvest time: Midseason

Note: All are now very susceptible to fire blight ('Seckel' a little less so) and best grown in the cool, dry West and in other areas where fire blight is not a significant problem.

Fire Blight-Resistant Pears
'Blake's Pride' Juicy, aromatic fruit and high yield combined with blight resistance; introduced in 1998 by USDA and Ohio State University.
Harvest time: Midseason

'Magness' Hybrid of 'Seckel' and 'Comice'; sweet, highly aromatic; ideal combination of high quality and fire blight resistance; needs two other varieties for pollination.
Harvest time: Midseason

'Moonglow' Mild, delightfully sweet flavor; smooth, nongrainy flesh; similar to 'Comice' with not quite the quality but much better resistance to fire blight.
Harvest time: Early

Note: The key to growing pears in the East and in other warm, wet areas where fire blight thrives is selecting a fire blight-resistant variety.

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