We have a huge old pear tree in our front yard that drops loads of pears in the fall. My neighbor Rita and her husband Frank planted the pear tree many many years ago, just after Rita’s mother passed away. It’s been producing fruit for decades now, here on this farm. No one is quite sure what the variety is at this point, but they are small, sweet, a little mealy pears.
Once they start to drop, I have to go out every day to gather them up off the ground or they quickly fall prey to either the deer, the chickens, the bees or the ants.
I wasn’t expecting a large harvest this year since the tree produced a lot last fall. It seems like it usually gives more pears on alternating years. This is, however, looking to be a big year for pears. This week I’ve collected two baskets full already.
Now, in years past, I have waited until the pears have fallen to the ground to gather them but this produces a lot of bruised fruit. So I asked my friend Kate if she would come help me try to pick them off the tree. I told her she could take as many pears as she wants for her help in getting them off the tree. Every girl needs a friend who will climb trees with her!
Ok, so we didn’t actually climb the tree but we did climb up ladders. Kate got the low hanging fruit first with the step ladder.
Meanwhile, I lugged the little Giant ladder out and went for the pears that were higher up. This experience taught me the importance of pruning my fruit trees to keep them on the shorter side. Even with the ladder fully extended, I could only reach the lower half of the tree.
I picked and handed my basket down to Kate. We made a great team. After about an hour, we declared ourselves finished. There were still pears in the tree, but we picked all the ones that we could reach.
We brought the scale down from the bathroom and weighed our baskets one by one. In total, we picked just over 100 pounds of pears, from half a tree!
There’s another similar tree in my back neighbor’s yard, which never gets picked. It pains me to watch all that food going to waste but I need to tackle this huge pile of pears in my kitchen first.
Check back this week to see what I find to do with all of them!
What’s your favorite pear dish?