When it comes to which pear is best for baking, poaching or steaming, it’s the Bosc Pear that most chefs turn to. Hillcrest Orchard – Century Farm Fruit Growers grows this variety using IPM practices in Medford, Oregon (the Rogue Valley), and it’s usually the last type to get harvested (usually by the end of September).
Note: each pear weighs almost a pound, and is priced by the each instead of by weight this time…
Hillcrest Orchard is one of the oldest continuously producing orchards in the region and a preserved example of life in the early 1900’s. Grandsons of Hillcrest founder Reginald Parsons, brothers Jud and George Parsons, along with their cousin Hugh Brady joined forces and created Century Farm Fruit Growers and now manage the tree fruit on the estate. They currently grow Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, and Starkcrimson pears as well as apples and peaches.
Bosc is picked hard and “green” (although with Bosc, it’s actually hard and “russeted”), and stored in the cooler for a time in order to bring up the sugar. As the Bosc ripens, it turns from a russeted green color to a russeted “amber” color.
Did you know, you can tell when ANY pear is ripe by how much “give” there is around the stem of the pear. The more give around the stem (at the “neck” so to speak), the riper it is. Pears ripen from the inside-out, so by the time a pear is soft around the middle, it’s likely rotten on the inside. Since the neck of a pear is the first place to get soft, checking for ripeness here guarantees that you won’t bite into a rotten pear! Remember this catchy saying, “Check the Neck”, and you’ll always know when your pears are ready to eat!