With a wink to the great tradition of sarcasm, Dan tells me that his fruit-buying skills are so good that he can tell the difference between the Niitaka and Shinko Asian pear by the way it hangs on the tree when it is just a wee little fruit. We’ve been razzing him that he’s spending too much time with the farm dogs that he’s been photographing for his “farm dogs” web project, but at least he’s having fun and finding some exciting and amazing fruit along the way.
Dan was once up in Sebastapol at Gabriel Farm, buying both the Niitaka and Shinko organic Asian pears. They look very similar but taste very different. The Niitaka pear has a more mottled look to it. These natural and typical Asian pear “spots” are brownish with a cascading russet tint that unevenly saturates and overlays the outer skin of the fruit. The Shinko is speckled with light colored spots and has a greenish-brown undercoat. The taste of both these pears is unparalleled. I would even venture to say that Torrey and Lucy Olson, who own and farm the 14 acres that these pears were grown on, have grown the best Asian pears I have ever tasted.
Be prepared — both pears have so much juice that when you eat them, you will need a napkin nearby. The Niitaka pear is candy-sweet with aromatic flavors of caramel and butterscotch that Niitaka Asian Pear develop in layers on your tongue. The Shinko is lighter tasting, with a refreshing citrus finish that gives you the strangely simultaneous experience of eating something crunchy, supple, smooth, cloud-like, and filled with lemony-sweet flavors all at once.
Check out Gabriel Farm at www.farmtrails.org/gabriel/#top. If you live in the Bay Area, you can even visit the farm on a farm trail tour. Ask for Torry or Lucy and tell them you tasted it with the FruitGuys. For the complete list of what’s in your crate this week, go to our This Week’s Mix Page.
Enjoy and be fruitful! – Chris Mittelstaedt firstname.lastname@example.org