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Pears are originally from Europe and Asia. At the time of the Romans there were about 50 pear species. By 1860 an American author T.W. Fields notes that there were about 850 races of pears. There are many more varieties now. There are 2 main varieties of pears, namely the European and the Asian. The Asian pear is also known as the apple pear because of the firm crisp fruit. The European pear produces softer, juicer fruit. Asian pear fruits are excellent when picked fresh from the tree. European pears should be picked when the fruit matures, but before they are ripe. Pears can be stored a long time in the mature state.
All Asian pear cultivars should be considered self-incompatible, which means you need to plant another Asian pear cultivar as a companion for pollination purposes to produce more fruit. Some European varieties are self pollinating but many will produce more fruit if another compatible pear tree is available to help with pollination. Pear trees are fast growing and usually begin to bear fruit in 3 to 5 years after planting. Like apples, pears are usually sold as grafted trees and require similar pruning and training. Pear trees are attractive trees with their glossy dark green foliage and they provide the delicious fruit as well. Pear leaves are simple, finely toothed, and glossy green in color.
Pears are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are excellent for eating out of hand and in salads. Pears do not contain cholesterol or fat and are low in calories. Pears are an excellent source of potassium and calcium.