Grower: Meyer Orchards, Talent, Oregon (the Rogue Valley)
The “Best Ever©” Pear is a cross of the prized Comice pear with an obscure French variety called Louis Pasteur. It’s not a great beauty — the skin is green mottled with a fine russet color — but it artfully blends the buttery texture, sweetness and juiciness of Comice and the unique flavor of Louis Pasteur, which the great pomologist U.P. Hedrick described as “very fine, melting and sugary, sprightly and perfumed.”
Best Ever is harvested in September but is not ripe until January and has the rare virtue of storing well as late as June. (According to Ron Meyer, the Best Ever pear needs an extra-long time in the cooler to bring up its sugar levels.)
This pear was first bred in 1935, but never quite caught on. But in the 1980s Mike Thorniley, a farmer in Talent (and a neighbor of Ron Meyer), fell in love with Reimer’s hybrid at the nearby Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, named it “Best Ever” and planted two acres. Ron took over the orchard when Thorniley retired, and in 2007 planted another eight acres, which are now finally reaching full production.
Meyer Orchards grows all their fruit using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Their main pest control practices include an annual dormant season spray (a horticultural oil, normally, which penetrates and smothers pests such as the overwintering pear psylla and fruit fly larvae), and copper to control leaf curl. Oftentimes, this is all the pest control they do.
- for a complete definition of “Integrated Pest Management (IPM), see this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_pest_management