Comice pears have a buttery and very juicy texture, are highly aromatic, and have an exceptionally sweet, mellow, and earthy flavor. Also known as the Holiday Pear – because you normally start to see it right around the holidays – Comice is probably the sweetest and juiciest of the European pear varieties! Hillcrest Orchard – Century Farm Fruit Growers grows this variety using IPM practices in Medford, Oregon (the Rogue Valley).
Note: each pear weighs about 3/4-lb. and is priced by the each instead of by the pound this time…
Comice are picked hard and “green”, and go into cold storage for an extended period of time in order to bring up the natural sugar, or Brix, content in the pear. Note: Comice do NOT change color as they ripen, so you can’t depend on that as an indicator or ripeness (see below). Also, the skin of Comice are pretty tough, but that’s okay – most people just cut their Comice in half and eat them with a spoon, throwing the “shell” away when they’re done… 🙂
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!
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.