The Art of Asian Pears

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It’s my humble opinion that Asian Pears are not only one of the tastiest of all fall fruit treats but also one of the most beautiful. The flavor of the different Asian Pear varieties plays in your mouth across butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, and even a hint of rum (if let ripen a bit too far), while the russetted yellows and browns (their color and texture vary) are nicely accented in both look and feel by a unique dimpling that makes this pear a living piece of art. I think the Hosui Pear (introduced in Japan in 1972 and now a common variety in California) is one of the most beautiful, while the Twentieth Century Pear (introduced in Japan in 1898 and featured in FruitGuys west coast boxes last week) is one of the tastiest. While there are many varieties of Asian Pear, I prefer the Twentieth Century for the flavor ride: it changes in taste as you eat the fruit closer to the core. I like to put this pear in the refrigerator and eat it cold on hot days—it tastes like a natural sorbet when chilled.

Our East Coast grower of Asian pears, Joel Spira, is an inventor/farmer who understands the connection between art and fruit. Spira invented the electronic dimmer switch and founded Lutron Electronics. He was introduced to these wonderful fruits on a trip to Japan in 1973 and decided to grow them when he returned home to Pennsylvania. His farm, Subarashii Kudamono (whose name translates to “wonderful fruit”), is located in Lehigh Valley in Coopersberg, PA. His website reflects his respect for the beauty and simplicity of these pears. Let’s face it you have to give credit to any farm that has a Haiku on its website:

Peaceful and Serene,
the orchard's quiet beauty,
I serve to my guests.

My sister Erin, who runs our east coast operation, says it best: "Cool man, cool." (Two snaps all around.) Check out his site at www.wonderfulfruit.com.

Asian pears on the west coast are from our good friend, farmer Torrey Olsen in Sebastopol (Sonoma County), who I’ve written a great deal about over the years. He has a thriving U-Pick business for those who are in Northern California and want to see what growing Asian Pears is all about. You can check out his site at www.gabrielfarm.com.

To see what variety of Asian Pear we have in your box this week, check out what’s in your mix here.

Enjoy and be fruitful!

- Chris Mittelstaedt

 

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