The first year that Brian and I started dating, I was amazed to see his orchard come to life – apples, plums, pears, and peaches were represented and abundant. There are two pear trees, and I remember him pointing and saying one had super hard pears that “weren’t very good” and the other had the most delicious, sweet pears you could ever imagine. The pears that he thought “weren’t very good” have turned into my favorites… what Brian didn’t realize was that the pear tree, planted long before he even owned the property, is a Kieffer pear tree.
These hard pears are perfect for overwinter storage, wonderful for frying, and absolutely amazing for baking. Sara even used some of our harvest and made Pear Honey Butter, which is available for purchase each fall. When the expectation of sweet, soft, and juicy is removed from these pears – the opportunities are endless!
We first start noticing the little baby pears forming in early May, right when the entire farm is starting to green up.
They grow quickly, and in about 5 months or so they are close to optimal time for picking. They’ve been growing for many years without any intervention, so we continue that practice and just leave them alone. There is no addition of pesticides or chemical fertilizers (but there is of course lots of natural fertilizer and compost available from farm).
Unlike other fruits, pears ripen from the inside out – so the hard pear means that you don’t have to eat it right away. This is perfect for those of us (like ME!) who get super excited with all the wonderful bounty available at the Farmer’s Market, but struggle to use it all before it goes bad.
Kieffer pears: the perfect farmer’s market purchase for using later in the week!
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