I’m slowly grafting over a 1.25 acre Bartlett/Comice orchard in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. We have an excellent pear climate, just about 30 miles away from ARS in Corvallis, and 0 fire blight threat. The Comice is planted as pollenizers and will grafting more of those. I will be doing a few varieties that ripen before Bartlett as it will work well for our labor flow. Those will be Clara Frijs, Ubileen and Buttira Rosata, anything earlier than those would be too early for us. So that leaves the gap between Bartlett and Comice.
The main contenders for the slightly earlier slot are Devoe and Flemish Beauty and the later slot Concorde, Abbe Fetel, Beurre Superfin, Seckel, Forelle and Leopardo Morettini. I will also throw in something to have with Comice and I was thinking some Dana’s Hovey and maybe something else. I’m not a big fan of Bartlett’s flavor as the ascorbic acid comes through a lot and it is not my favorite note. So I would like a wider variety of flavors as well.
Anyway, I’m also wide open to suggestions. Interesting flavors are the highest priority and I have no problem just grafting a handful of trees of stuff that does not store well.
Ayers is about a week ahead of Bartlett and has a pretty unique taste. I’d run with Abbe Fetel as everyone likes it and it offers a unique appearance. Side note: Many people report ripening issues on Ubileen.
I love Asian pears and have done 60 of the trees over to Hosui and Yoinashi so far. I have a couple Shinsui’s as well and should have an idea of the harvest timing of all of those and may expand the Shinsui if it’s early enough, this year it was, but had a small crop. Need to add a late season Asian as well.
Sunrise has a lot of Bartlett in its parentage how does it compare? Moonglow is definitely a pretty one. We have pretty low disease pressure aside from scab, so disease resistance isn’t critical.
ARS has Magness as the same maturity week as Fetel and the others I mentioned. I’ll probably do 4 varieties in that slot and I’m definitely going for Superfin and probably Fetel, so I’ll have to two choose between Magness, Concorde, Leopardo, Seckel and Forelle. Would like to go for different flavors and looks so that will give me plenty to mull over.
The people growing Ubileed said it went from under ripe to over ripe to quickly and they could not pick it at the right stage. Keep in mind many varieties will require refrigeration to ripen. I had to change the varieties I was growing over that. You don’t want 50 refrigerators.
Bartlett has the same ripening issue if treated like a summer pear and ripened on the tree. It goes from perfect off the tree to way overripe in a few days. I used to make Perry commercially out of our leftovers and it was pretty tricky to nail the timing as really ripe pears can be quite difficult to juice, but underripe can have all sorts of problems as well.
We have a 400 sq foot walk in cooler, so refrigeration is no problem as long as sales of the earlier stuff don’t interfere with late variety storage. It seems that later varieties require more chilling, but there is very little information about time in English outside of Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou and Comice.
We currently have so much Bartlett waste, in the several ton range because pear popularity has dropped so much in the last 30 years, so slow to produce is not a big deal if it’s worth it taste wise. Our trees are 60 years old so grafts grow super fast.
But if the fire blight resistance is the main benefit, then it might not be. Our highest temp during bloom is usually about 65 so fire blight is pretty much a non issue, we’ve occasionally had a bit in apples, but it takes a perfect year like this year (very cold winter, heat wave during bloom) to have even a little bit.
I switched to Red Bartlett. It does not need any chill time and is just overall much better.
That must be nice. All of the premium taste comes at the end of the season and requires long refrigeration time. I’m just kind of guessing, but I would say in general the later they ripen the more chill time they need. Up to two months on some.
In the horticulture literature there is a theory with a bit of evidence that one of the P. communis ancestors evolved to begin maturation after the beginning of snowfall. In this way it did not compete with late summer berries for seed consumption and disbursal.