It has been a summer of unrelenting, extreme heat and smoked filled skies here in the Okanogan valley. A summer in which it was difficult for living things to thrive, both humans and plants, though the yellow jackets seemed to be exceedingly happy! But the unhealthy air cleared a bit last week, though the wildfires continue to burn, and the heat has abated, all in time for our Bartlett pear harvest which began last Friday.
Pears are unique. Unlike other tree fruit, pears are harvested when they are mature, but not ripe. If you let a pear ripen on the tree it will be too ripe inside and have a mushy consistency. So how do we know when the pears are mature? Bloom date, climate and weather are all important factors but ultimately, we decide if it’s time to begin harvest by testing the internal pressure of a pear.
Bartletts are green when harvested and will taste hard and astringent. Be patient! To ripen, store pears at room temperature for a week. If you want to speed up the process, place them in a paper bag. When the pear turns yellow and is soft at the neck, it will be juicy and very sweet. Well worth the wait! There is a bear who lives on Whitestone Mountain who loves our ripe pears and visits us nightly to feast on pears that dropped to the orchard floor during harvest. Our hope is that you will enjoy our pears as much as the bear does!
Bartlett Growing Season in Pictures