Jesuit Pear

I just listened to a podcast about the pear: and wonder if anyone is growing it? @clarkinks ? It is described as tiny, sweet / sour, spicy and blight resistant. It was apparently traditionally stored in a fruit cellar until January then canned or pickled (Yuck). It sounds like the flavor profile would make it idea for Perry but it was not mentioned as a cider pear. If it’s main redeeming quality is a canning and storage pear, I can see why it did not compete well with the large Kieffer pears.


Im familiar with the pear due to efforts going on in Canada to inform people of it. There are now websites dedicated to it . The fruit is also on the radar of certain NAFEX members who are feverishly searching the USDA repository since 2017 to acquire the pear
" Thursday, January 26, 2017

Re: [nafex] Jesuit Pear

Looks very much like a seckle.

> On Jan 26, 2017, at 4:46 PM, mIEKAL aND <> wrote:
> The pear repository has a number of cultivars listed called Mission
> pears which is listed as a synonym in the article you posted. They
> look to have a different shape than the photo of the fruit in the
> article but who knows.
> On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 1:18 PM, Mike Levine <> wrote:
>> Has anyone heard of the Jesuit Pears that grow in Detroit, MI and Windsor
>> Ontario or similar places? Does anyone have any information about the
>> location of these trees, grafting them, flavor and uses, or any other
>> useful information? Slow Food is considering adding them to the Ark of
>> Taste.
>> And that page links to this and some of the other pages out there:
>> thanks,
>> Mike Levine
>> Ann Arbor, MI
>> Heirloom and open pollinated seeds for the Great Lakes and beyond
>> __________________
>> nafex mailing list
>> Northamerican Allied Fruit Experimenters
>> subscribe/unsubscribe|user config|list info:
> __________________
> nafex mailing list
> Northamerican Allied Fruit Experimenters
> subscribe/unsubscribe|user config|list info:

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Margie Luffman seemed to the one responsible for promoting the pear in Canada
Margie Luffman, AAFC Harrow, Clonal Repository Tel: (250) 494-7711; Fax: (250) 494-0755

The pear may be known by a different name in the book The pears of New York as seen here

So where does a person get one might be the best question? I think it could be answered best with this link " The Windsor/Detroit region’s historic Jesuit Pear Tree has been accepted into Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste . The Ark of Taste is an international effort highlighting distinctive culinary traditions and products facing extinction due to a variety of factors, including plant disease, loss of traditions, or low production. Since 1996, the International Ark of Taste has identified 3,500 products from 150 countries. It is an important tool used by chefs, farmers, grocers, and educators to promote our biological, cultural, and culinary heritage, showcasing the links between biodiversity and culture. Currently Ark of Taste USA lists approximately 200 historically and culturally significant products.

In early 2015 a conversation between French-Canadian and Métis cultural advocates Darlene Navarre Darley and James LaForest, led to Darley spearheading an effort to have the Jesuit Pear Trees included in the Ark of Taste. Her efforts led to a tasting of the fruit in Monroe, Michigan in September 2016, the weekend of the Annual French Canadian Descendants Reunion organized by Sandy Vanisacker at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park.


Jesuit Pears at Monroe Tasting event courtesy of Dar Navarre Darley

The tasting was held at the historic Navarre-Anderson Trading Post and organized by Monroe County Historical Museum curator Lynn Reaume. Jean Tremblay, a grower from Pointe-aux-Roches, Ontario provided samples from his family farm of both fresh and pickled pears, and spoke about their history and culinary uses. Representatives of the Midwest SlowFood USA chapter were on hand to complete their investigation into the fruit trees as were several lucky tasters, including Dawn Evoe-Danowski, vice-president of the French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan. Also attending the tasting was Richard Micka of Sawyer House, City of Monroe. Darley, Evoe-Danowski, and Vanisacker are all descendants of François Navarre who brought Jesuit Pear seedlings from Detroit to Monroe when he founded the settlement in 1789.

The Jesuit Pear Trees were included in the Ark of Taste database as of December 2016. More can be read at the Ark of Taste we bsite as well as in the Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America. According to Darley, “the inclusion of the Jesuit Pears in the Ark of Taste will mean exposure to professional growers and food producers, and hopefully create a demand for the pears and trees.” It is hoped that this living link to the founding of Detroit can be perpetuated into the 21st century, and take its place in Detroit’s renaissance, a place once known as the ‘largest village west of Montreal.’

Categories: agriculture, Detroit, French Canadian, Uncategorized, Windsor

Tags: Ark of Taste, Biodiversity, Jesuit Pear Tree, Monroe, Slow Food USA"
This photo seen in the article above does make them look very delicious!


Here is a link from this years grafting workshop if anyone is interested in aquiring trees Jesuit Pear Tasting and Grafting — Slow Food Huron Valley

Jesuit Pear Tasting and Grafting

  • Sunday, March 17, 2019

  • 1:30 PM 4:30 PM

  • Bløm Meadworks100 South 4th AvenueAnn Arbor, MI, 48104(map)

  • Google Calendar ICS

Join us for a Jesuit Pear workshop at Bløm Meadworks in downtown Ann Arbor! This session will include a grafting workshop and a Jesuit Pear tasting. Purchase your tickets in advance for either portion, or both! Meads and ciders produced on site will also be available for purchase during the workshop.

The Jesuit Pear is part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. By identifying and championing these foods we keep them in production and on our plates. To learn more about the Jesuit Pear, visit the page on the Ark of Taste website.

Shannon Brines of Brines Farm will lead a hands-on demonstration of how to graft Jesuit Pear scions onto rootstock. Every attendee will complete two grafts that they can take home to plant.

Tasting menu is coming soon and will include several small portions of delicious dishes made with Jesuit Pears by Detroit area chefs.

Tickets: available here. $20 for each the grafting workshop and tasting event, or $35 if you choose both. Each grafting participant will take home 2 trees, and may purchase additional trees for $10 each.

Grafting - 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Tasting - 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Earlier Event: February 24

Central Michigan Seed Swap

Later Event: April 14

Grafting Fruit Trees


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Venue Information

100 S 4th Ave Suite 110
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 548-9729

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By the way im not sure at all the jesuit pear aka mission pear is one pear at all. My suspicion is originally they were seedlings much like i grew seedling apples and bad types were grafted to the better types. Mission figs are now considered one type of fig but how many catholic missions grew much fruit? There may be one type of fruit still well known but that is not all the types they grew. The jesuits were no doubt like me fruit experimenters and certainly did plant seeds. You might laugh but the catholic priests in my area frequently still do grow experimental fruits. Nearby my area they grow many types of small plums like ive not seen and cannot easily identify. Find it hard to believe ? Consider that anyone with time and money and love of fruits or vegetables or grains who wants to make the world a better a place eventually strives to cultivate fruits and experiment for the good of everyone and not just themself. Think about Thomas Jefferson and his eleborate orchard. This link contains many individuals like this Question the History of a pear or know some history? Post it here!. One thing well known about pears is they can easily live hundreds of years Napoleon’s army planted pear trees fact or fiction?. The pears of old were not always high quality but some were and the others kept people alive. As a child my mother told me of the jesuits. She was a teacher, worked at a library, daughter of a farmer etc. And she grew up and observed all farmers in her area such as my grandpa grew their own types of fruit they used for their own table fruits on their small empires. The jesuit priests there is no doubt in my mind were doing what people do which is manipulating our environment to better serve humanities needs.

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Excellent research as always @clarkinks. I will see about ordering some scion and save you a couple sticks.


This should be the information we need
6384 Walsh Rd, Whitmore Lake, Michigan 48189
(734) 926-5463

I just joined this conversation as I am working on helping the Monroe County Museum System revive the Jesuit pear trees in Monroe near the fairgrounds. I would love to hear from anyone that was involved in the grafting workshop that took place in March 2019 in Ann Arbor!


@clarkinks Are you located in Michigan? Did you participate in the Ann Arbor grafting event? I’m curious about the results of the grafting efforts from that day

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I’m in Kansas i’m sorry i was not there. Pears are something i keep up on all over the country.

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The Jesuit pear proved difficult to find but a gentleman is sending it to me this year. Five years have passed in the meantime. I will try to make this available to the public again sometime in the future. Would love to donate some to the USDA repository.



Ancient Jesuit Pear Trees

Maison François Baby House, and Dieppe Gardens

These Jesuit Pear Trees, located in the Maison François Baby House garden and Dieppe Gardens park, are descendants of trees brought from France by the Jesuit Missionaries in the early eighteenth century. These trees marked the location of early French settlements within Canada. Although historically common to the region, Jesuit Pear Trees are becoming rare. Since 2001, this species has been recognized as the symbol of the Detroit region’s French speaking community, which is now focused around the region of Windsor.

Etched on stone in Dieppe Gardens:

Ancient Jesuit Pear Trees
In June 1749 the south shore’s first settler, Charles
Chauvin, planted near this spot 12 Jesuit Pear
Trees imported from his native France - one for
each of the Apostles of Christ.
Gra​ftings from those ancient trees, which survive
nearby, provided the three saplings planted here -
one for each century of the Windsor Detroit tri-
centennial celebration.
The hardy high-yielding tress, unique in North
America, are appropriate symbols of the enduring
spirit, endurance, and productivity of this

Donated by the Chauvin Family Association

Ancient Jesuit Pear tree.Pear tree and plaque in a parkDetail of stone plaque.

Very good blog below by Lorraine Roy

" Our Jesuit Pear – A living Love Note from the past « Lorraine Roy Art Textiles

Our Jesuit Pear – A living Love Note from the past

I grew up on a cash crop farm in South Western Ontario, complete with a small orchard of peaches, cherries, plums and pears. Whenever I see a row of fruit trees, I feel a rush of nostalgia for my childhood.

Small Orchard #1 2016 10X30″ framed textile

My father would not contemplate life without them and now I know why – the urge to plant fruit trees may well be genetic. My French ancestors, who colonized the area which constitutes the Canadian/American border at Windsor and Detroit in the 1700’s, were the first settlers to plant fruit trees in Ontario, following earlier plantings by Samuel de Champlain at Annapolis Royal some time around 1610 (thank you for that, Heather!).

With them, they brought everything they needed, generously bestowed by the beloved French King Louis XV. This included equipment, seed, trees, and animals. Nothing but the best for the new colony! Jesuit missionaries, who were great travelers, planted fruit tree pips wherever they went. But the one defining tree was the Pear – every original French farm along the Detroit River had its share, as an epicurean connection to the home country. These trees were later called Jesuit or Mission Pears.

A couple of years ago I was invited back to my home town of Chatham as keynote speaker for the release of a video about local Heritage trees. At the event, I was surprised to learn that a few Jesuit Pears still survive in small pockets on both sides of the Detroit River. What?! Pear trees that are 250 years old? Impossible!

Enter childhood neighbour and passionate local historian, Dan Peltier, who offered to take me around and introduce me in person to three old timers on the Canadian side.

The famous Iler Road Pear, mother of hundreds!

We toured through the rich farmlands, sideroads and hidden driveways of Essex County to find these silent matriarchs. Never have I seen such big pear trees – in their present form they are diminished due to the vagaries of time but it’s easy to see that in their heyday, at over 60 ft in height, they might have given the local oaks and elms a run for their money. Jesuit Pears take 20 years to mature to fruit, so needless to say that, along with their discouraging height, they are not sought after in the modern orchard. However, the generous and reliable fruit, though small, is spicy and sweet, and the tree is resistant to pests. These characteristics make it a worthy addition to any breeding program. At the Harrow Research Station, 16 Jesuit pear clones are being preserved in the Gene Bank.

Martin Gadsby, Research Technician at the Harrow Research station in front of cloned Jesuit Pears.

In subsequent research, I learned something else: one early 19th Century farmer in Detroit planted an orchard of 12, which later became known as ‘The Twelve Apostles’. The tree designated as Judas was set a bit apart from the others. Scroll forward to Detroit in the 40’s: there was a ceremony to plant new cuttings from the last remaining tree, the St Peter Pear, only to find out a month later that it was actually the Judas Pear. Consternation ensued!

As a victim of further breeding in the motherland, this particular breed of pear can no longer be found in its original form in France. It suddenly struck me that the French language in our area parallels our Jesuit Pear history: many French words commonly spoken in Ontario decades ago are no longer used in France. Like these! I recall using some of these old words, or hearing them spoken by elders. No wonder the Jesuit Pear has been recognized as a living symbol of our region’s French speaking community.

Easy to see that the Jesuit Pear is the coolest Pear ever. What can I do to honour it? And so I begin with the idea of tree rings, which are visual markers of the passage of time. Below is a first trial which may lead to other larger versions.

Jesuit Pear 2018 8×8″ framed textile

Fascinated by the story of the Twelve Apostles Pear orchard, I wonder, if not for Judas’ betrayal, would Christianity have taken its present form? I consider the idea that darkness can bring light. In the piece below, the 12th tree, the Judas pear, grows through to the centre – joining the outside to the heart. With this piece and with many others, I am exploring and embracing my attachment to my Roman Catholic roots… what it means to me now, as compared with my early training in doctrine.

The Twelfth Pear 2018 16×16″ framed textile

And another take on it…. this one a wall hanging.

Call of the Heart 2018 36″ fabric wall hanging

I intend to continue working on this series as fresh information and ideas come along. There is plenty to draw from its connection to my French heritage. And I’m imagining how its seeds and seedlings might have traveled to the New World in the pockets of the missionaries.

These cupped hands belong to the 80+ year widow owner of the Petroschuk farm from which the Harrow Station pears were cloned. (Photo by Tanya Wigle)

Who knew an old fruit tree could be so… fruitful. Her twisting branches reached out and drew me back to my roots, in spirit, language, history, and HOME.

By clicking on some of the images in this blog, you will be linked to the relevant research sites.

(with thanks to my great friend Dan Peltier, who knows the most important things there are to know, and to Robert Holland who dedicates so much energy and effort to help preserve the Jesuit Pear, and who generously permitted me to share the image of the cupped hands from his website)

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Tags: art process, creativity, enhancing creativity, fabric, Heritage trees, inspiration, inspiration for art, Jesuit Pear, Mission Pear, seeds, studio work, textile, textile art, trees, wall hangings

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 8:50 am and is filed under Art making. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Responses to “Our Jesuit Pear – A living Love Note from the past”

  1. margy alexander

April 2, 2018 at 8:17 pm

Very inspiring
Thankyou for sharing


April 3, 2018 at 9:01 am

It’s a pleasure, Margy!

2. Stella Watson

March 29, 2018 at 10:59 am

well written story about a tree and fruit I knew
nothing about. Thank you – the textiles are lovely –
a great talent is here.

Stella Watson


March 29, 2018 at 11:14 am

Thank you, Stella!

3. Katie Belan-Caslick

March 29, 2018 at 8:13 am

I love how you mix art, your experiences, your history and nature all together. Beautiful work.


March 29, 2018 at 11:15 am

Thanks, Katie!

4. Ric

March 28, 2018 at 5:57 pm

I have seen the Iler Road pear Lorraine but never knew what it was or the fascinating story of these relics. Thanks for sharing, and of course for your creations.


  1. Tana

March 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm

What a lovely thing to read about. Interesting history and have me quite a picture in my mind. Thank you.


March 29, 2018 at 11:16 am

Thank you, Tana!



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