What is the correct spelling, please?
Abbe Fetel accent over the e in Abbe. The Italian pears were named after Abbé Fétel, the monk who first bred them in the mid-1400s. They were discovered as a “chance” seedling, and are commonly referred to as an “Italian fruit.”
Hi Clark: We planted both Duchesse D’Angouleme and Abbe Fetel in our Maine orchard this past spring based on things you wrote about them last year. The trees were a decent calliper size and all on OHxF87 rootstock. We’ll have to do some winter protection, but we are hopeful. We also planted White Doyenne at the same time. Also on OHxF87. Can you tell me at what age yours began bearing fruit?
Thank you for posting these wonderful photos and your tasting notes. We have some of these planted in our small 75 tree orchard and we were thinking about adding some of the others that you’ve mentioned here. This is helpful.
Duchesse D’Angouleme Fruits very quickly. I would not think they will take more than 2-3 years. Harrow sweet is another very tasty fast to fruit pear. For me Harrow sweet took one year before it produced. It’s not like me to recommend abate fetel that far north since its typically zone 6. It is certainly a great pear but it does lack disease resistant and cold tolerance. White doyenne is another good one according to many experts. Duchesse D’Angouleme Is the lowest quality pear of the group of pears just discussed but it’s very large and has good disease tolerance. Duchesse D’Angouleme Is a good producer to the point of it breaking branches at times if precautions are not taken. It’s also very disease resistant.
Duchesse D’Angouleme will likely flower next year because it’s a solid producer.
You probably didn’t recommend it for Maine (we’re zone 5A.) I just got excited about it from reading what you and others wrote. And seeing what mamuang wrote spurred me to tell all of you about trying it here. (mamaung: I apologize for coming out of left field with my comment to Clark. Your post was really exciting to me because we have a couple of those pears. Pear fever.)
So glad you find this thread helpful. I wish I have more sophisticated taste buds and fancier vocabulary so I could better describe the taste of those pears.
When @mrsg47 sang praises of Abbe Fetel, i was excited even though the statement about its disease susceptibilty put a damper on my enthusiasm.
Maybe, your climate would have less disease problem for AF.
Thank you, mamuang, I thought your vocabulary and tastebuds were wonderfully expressed. And it helped to see the actual pears. I also remember @mrsg47 writing about the Abbe Fetels. Well, we shall see how we do. We are following a strict organic protocol based on Michael Phillips work and guidance. Hopefully, by working on promoting healthy fruit trees and with some good winter protection our pears will live and thrive. We’ll post photos (hopefully) next summer.
What Pears will you grow this year?
Here are our last two pears.
Potomac, a big greenish pear and an unknown from my neighbor’s tree bought from a big box store.
The unknown. At first I thought it was a Bartlett, but definitely not.
Potomac was nice, good balance of sweet and acid, soft and aromatic pear. Brix 14. It was the only one that I could taste distinct acidity but it blends well with sweetness.
The unknown is a hard pear. It’s crunchy like Asian pear but quite acidic. Hubby said beside acidity and crunchiness, it has nothing else. It definitely was ripe. The seeds were very dark. I thought it was quince when I cut it open. Never had quince, though
Here is the line up so you could compare sizes. Missing were Harrow Sweet and Taylor Gold. Taylor’s Gold would be a bit bigger than Comice while Harrow Sweet would be at the same size as Comice.
From left to right:
Potomac, Abbe Fetel, Magness, Concorde, an Unknown and Comice.
Judging from taste and size, our favorite are:
Harrow Sweet followed by Abbe Fetel.
Comice, Potomac, Magness and Concorde are interchangeable to us. They all good, sweet, melting pears that are worth growing.
Taylor’s Gold did not make the cut, taste-wise
I’d like to state it again that taste is subjective. Hubby said all he could tell is if he likes it or not.
Is Duchess a crunchy variety or does it soften nicely? What makes it lower quality? Debating on whether to remove mine to make more space for something else. Have you tried Rescue?
This is my second year following Michael Phillips protocol and maybe my spray timings were off but I haven’t had the best of luck with his regime. I’m in upstate NY, maybe it’s too humid here…
Duchess is a nice soft large tasty pear. Some disease resistant pears have unique flavors such as Seckle, Potomac, Harrow Sweet, Magness, Warren etc. . Duchess lacks complexity in the flavor but I like that at times. Good Grocery store pears are similar in many ways to Duchess. There are more common pears such as Bosc and Comice that can at times have impressive somewhat complexed flavors. Royal Riviera by Harry & David is Comice and those pears are very common gifts this time of year.
We just finished our first year following his spray protocols. We added all the soil amendments recommended, including the mycorrhizal inoculant. (Fedco sells the kit, except maybe for the inoculant.) We are beginning the ramial woodchip applications around the bases (about a foot out) of the trees and also planted things such as comfrey, lavender and other plants around the bases. Too soon for us to tell, but we’re hopeful.
I remember 4 years ago calling a local farm/orchard to inquire about orcharding organically because I’d heard that he was doing that. In fact, he was not anymore and the blowback that fellow expressed to me in that phone conversation was quite bitter. He asked me what I planned to do about a string of diseases he listed. Said he’d started that way and it was impossible to do. So, when we found Michael, I was very happy.
We had disease on one side of the orchard, leaf roller, a tiny bit of Cedar Rust and a couple of other things but, strangely, nothing on the other half of the orchard. Michael states that building the health of the trees leads to more disease resistance.
I’ll report back next season on my results. It’s all a very fascinating experiment. Just trying to do the right thing. And then, of course, the folks here are all so inspiring.
My first year everything was doing very well when I used his spraying protocol. This was my second summer, and I faced many trials concerning diseases. Granted, it was an usually wet summer and the previous year was unusually dry. I think, and I’m not that experienced, that it takes a couple years for diseases to develop. Next year I plan to definitely spray copper spring and fall. No question. I intended originally to follow that book and then amend as I run into problems. I still don’t want to spray my fruit with pesticides but I am more open to at least chemical disease sprays - after replacing some of my investment a couple times due to diseases you at least want the trees to stay alive! Lol
Not trying to discourage you. I wish you luck. My brother is on a different property and also trying the organic method from that book, and he seems to have higher pest pressure than me and I have more disease pressure. But he sprayed copper that spring and I didn’t.
Yes, you should definitely do what you think best. The first 3 years we didn’t do anything except soil amendments. Our trees are all between 3 to 5 years old with a few interspersed new grafts. And yes, it is disappointing to have to replace trees.
Thank you for sharing both your and your brother’s experience with the method. We don’t know what will happen here.
By the way - we do have Rescue - as an espalier, but it’s new to us - planted early this season. About 5 ft and decent caliper. No fruit yet.
I wish you the best in your orcharding!
When I first start growing fruit trees, I had only disease resistant apples and pears. I know I could grow them organically for personal consumption. For sale, it would be tougher as customers demand “perfect fruit”.
Choosing varieties with disease resistance is the key. For my very small orchard, I have to look out for fire blight, CAR and scab on apples and fire blight and pear blister mites for pears… So far, no serious fire blight.
Once I started planting stone fruit particularly peaches, headache has begun and continue to stay. I cannot keep growing stone fruit organically. For apples and pears, they got minimal spray if any.
That’s interesting. The half of our orchard where there were diseases is the half where the peaches reside. Makes sense from what you’re saying.