Warren Dessert Pears are a rare, American variety. The floral fruits were discovered in the Southern United States in the late 20th century, and as rumors swirled around the pear’s true origins, Warren pears quickly gained notoriety as a popular, fresh eating cultivar.
Warren dessert pears are highly favored for their soft, juicy texture and complex taste and are especially loved by chefs (including Alice Waters) and pear enthusiasts (such as Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart). Despite their flavorful reputation, Warren pears are not commercially cultivated as each tree takes over five years to bear fruit, significantly delaying production. Warren pears are also deemed challenging to grow due to specific pollination requirements, localizing the variety to specialty orchards as a rare, gourmet cultivar. (For more info about Warren pears, check this link: https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Warren Pears.
Norm Lehne Garden & Orchards in Roseburg grows Warren using IPM practices, and harvest usually happens in early September. The Warren then spends a few weeks in the cooler to raise its sugar content (the “brix” as it’s known in the industry), before coming out of the cooler to finish ripening on your counter. Warren dessert pears are usually only available for a month or two, as they don’t hold well in the cooler. Whole, unwashed Warren dessert pears will keep up to five days when stored at room temperature and for two weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
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. (With the exception of the Bartlett, most pears don’t change color as they ripen, so color is NOT a good indicator.) 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!