What a pear

“Let’s get cheesy.”

“Let’s get cheesy.”

Astonishingly pears were never found in the wild; it’s a hybrid fruit with roots in Europe and Asia. The fruit moved west through the Mediterranean, where it was cultivated in Europe as early as 1000 B.C. A relation to the apple, they even get mentioned in The Odyssey. With a high level of fructose and glucose, pears are deliciously sweet, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration even recognizes pears as one of the top 20 most popular fruits. Pears are big-time, yet they’re still locally grown.

Sometime around 1850, David Osburn ordered pear trees from France, planted them in Courtland and started an orchard. Some 150 years later, his family still owns and operates Stillwater Orchards growing Bartletts, bosc, Comice and other varieties. Jane Schene, packing house supervisor, speaks highly of their wares. “They’re grown locally, they’re high quality and they’re very tasty,” she said. “Bartletts are my favorite.”

But not every locally grown pear is a small-time operation. In fact, David J. Elliot & Sons, who operate Stillwater Orchards, distributes the pears widely. “We sell our pears at Raley’s and Bel Air, Safeway, Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club. We sell all across the United States, Canada and South America,” Schene explained. But just because local pears are available at big-box shops doesn’t mean that these treats will be around forever. “We just finished our harvest,” said Schene. “We’re going into pruning. I’m hoping they’ll be available for another month or two.

“When they’re gone, they’re gone.”

So while there’s still time, hurry to round up those last seasonal sweets. Schene suggests a “pear pie with a brown-sugar-crumble topping.” Or they’re great with cheese.