ReplytoOlpea-topic Harrow Program Pears

I decided to create a new thread since the topic where this question came up was Captan on pears…


Yes the NAFEX forum still exists; I am going to be posting there more often, it is a shame it has languished. And that is my fault as much as anyone else’s. Also the name has changed to: Northamerican Allied Fruit Experimenters.

That being stated, IMNTBMFO Harvest Queen is an excellent pear. It ripens handily on the tree and does not drop as Harrow Delight does. It is suppose to be a Bartlett type, but it is much sweeter, smoother, far less gritty, and has a more refined taste. Whereas Bartlett sorts of crowds the taste bud party and says I am a pear, Harvest Queen is more subtle, the juices actually tastes a bit different then the fruit, the juice being more sugary and the actual flesh has a more complex taste to it. I vacillate if Harvest Queen or Warren is my favorite European Pear. Harvest Queen ripens about a week before Bartlett, and is very fireblight resistant. It needs thinning or it will go biennial on you. And here it occasionally suffers from pear psylla. It ripens well on the tree to something that approaches a sin in terms of epicurean euphoria. Seriously this is a bucolic bacchanalia for the taste buds.

It makes a very good horizontal cordon arm espalier subject as it will push fruit spurs like mad when horizontal and oddly has no trouble pushing wood when horizontal (most pears need at least a 45 degree angle to push wood when you are training to a horizontal position). I mention this because training it to a 2, 4, or 6 arm cordon it trivial and makes it so very easy to thin and easier to protect.

I will say squirrels love Harvest Queen. They will pick it clean while they will forage a bit on Warren, Harrow Delight, Harrow Sweet, or Potomac.

As of today, 04-21, I still have some Harvest Queen on ice if you want a scion or two.

To my taste HarrowDelight is a large step down in quality and flavor. That being said it is a Bartlett type and to my taste equal to or slightly better. It loses a bit more quality than Bartlett in terms of canning. It ripens two weeks before Bartlett, and is even more fireblight resistant than Harvest Queen. Fault wise it is more prone to pear psylla than Harvest Queen and really needs to be picked green. It will ripen on the tree but suffers from dropping as the pears mature. On the plus side it is a very reliable cropper.
I would plant it over Bartlett any day because of the inherit fireblight resistance.

And of course there is Harrow Sweet. This is a late season pear 3 to 4 weeks after Barlett and of very high quality. It stores very well, for up to 12 weeks and like Harrow Delight and Harvest Queen has incredible fireblight resistance. This pear is as precocious as they come and will fruit 2nd or 3rd year. It has a beautiful tree form and is the easiest pear I have ever trained. It makes a lovely landscape tree. That being said, it needs to be thinned heavily in order to obtain Bartlett type size. Taste wise, it is pretty awesome when compared to Bartlett. It is super sweet when tree ripe and dehydrates to an addictive pear candy. It is also super juicy.
In closing, I just don’t see much reason to grow Bartlett in fireblight prone regions. A lot of people went to a lot of effort to create fireblight resistant trees of extremely high quality for us to enjoy. In the case of Harrow fireblight resistant pears are not sacrificing taste and quality when compared to Bartlett.
For those of you interested in pomological history of the pear it is worth the effort to get your hand on article written back in 1971 by Brooks Drain. The article recounts fireblight in pears and gives a glimpse into the life long work of one man quest to breed resistance into pears. Moreover it just gives you an idea how profoundly fireblight effected home orchards.


the fluffy bunny

Brooks D. Drain “Tennessee Bred Fire Blight Resistant Pears”, The North American Pomona, Quarterly Journal of The North American Fruit Explorers, Vol. IV No. 4, Oct 1971, pp. 126-129.


The best fireblight resistance I’ve experienced in my locale is the Hood Pear.

is it any good Richard?

In my experience, the pears produced in the home garden by “Hood” exceed the quality of “Bartlett” type pears sold in supermarkets.

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I added Hood Pear scions this spring. Great to have another endorsement on it’s resistance to FB. Bill

Ack! Now I can’t go back to sleep because my mouth and stomach are craving a GOOD pear. You made those varieties sound absolutely luscious. One of these days, I too will have quality varieties grafted onto my not so tasty pear tree. Next to cherries, pears are my favorite fruit.


There are a lot of people here who really like harrow sweet.

I have found it to be a total pear scab magnet. Fruit and twigs heavily infected year after year, but none of the other 8-10 varieties around it are bothered.

Anyone have similar experience? Perhaps I got a mis identified scion, although size, precocity and ripening period all seem spot on…


We are practically neighbors. My HS is precocious, clean, no scab, no blight, little blister mites. Blake pride is hit hard with mites.

Welcome aboard fluff! Somehow I missed that old NAFEX discussion because I decided Harrow Delight was the one I was going to try from that series. I’m going to put down Harrow Sweet and Harvest Queen as ones to try in the future. My HD should fruit for the first time this year.

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The fluffy bunny living in my yard likes Harvest Queen too. Before last winter, this tree had some nice long branches. They are now short stubs due to a high snow level which let the bunnies reach them. But, it does have a single bloom cluster which you can just make out near the top of the pic. That bodes well for it’s preciosity, given that it is only a 2nd year tree.

Glad to have you here Fluff!

Thanks for that thorough write-up and the offer of scionwood! Actually I have a couple grafts of Harvest Queen growing on top of a couple Bartletts until I can grow some rootstocks.

I completely agree with your comments about not planting Bartlett in blight prone areas. I planted one of these trees 12 years ago (wife bought it from Walmart) and the other Barlett was a gift. Looking forward to replacing those Bartletts with a good pear.

Also agree with your comments about Harrow Sweet. It is precocious and is prone to produce small fruit if not thinned heavily. Excellent quality if thinned heavily.

Harrow Delight has been a good early pear for me (we don’t get much psylla here).

Once again excited to hear your endorsement of Harvest Queen.

I’ve missed your ethereal spirit ever since I left Nafex years ago. :smiley:

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Congrats Bob. I’ve never grown pears on quince, but it’s my understanding quince makes any pear precocious. I’m sure you know this, which is why you bought it on quince. Just mentioning as a note for others reading this.

I think it helps a lot, but it is worth noting that I have a 4th leaf Magness on quince which has grown very well, but still doesn’t look like it has any flowers. Last year I was getting frustrated waiting and bent most of the branches to close to horizontal. But, even that doesn’t seem to have helped. It’s reputation as a slow bearer is well earned. At least it has nice clean disease resistant foliage.

I just put in 2 Harrow Sweets to grow into an arch at the entry to a garden area and one of them already has flowers. If they result in the little thing trying to make fruit, I’ll take it off, but it does make it seem like Alan’s comment from GW that I should be able to keep the size in check with the trees spending so much energy early on to fruit will be accurate.

I’m curious if anyone has tried Harrow Crisp. I actually had one on order from Cummins to be one side of the arch, but changed my mind and when with the 2 HS instead when I couldn’t get enough info to determine if it was worth growing. I was also worried they might have different vigor which might make my arch lopsided… But I did like the sound of a really crisp pear that stayed that way when ripe. It sounded sort of like a Euro pear with Asian pear flesh.

Harrow Crisp is a mild tasting sweet pear. If you like very subdued pear flavor with sugar it would be a match. The flesh is very firm even when ripe. So all in all, it is a bit different. It also is a pretty pear. If tree ripening is important to you (if you are a home grower I would think so) then this is not the tree for you. Unlike Harrow Delight it will hang on the tree but rot internally and will not give you any signs. It really is a pick them green, store and ripen off the tree type of pear.

If I sound negative, it is simply a reflection that is not my type of pear. But there is nothing wrong with it.

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Here are the Harrow/Vineland selections I am familair with, in order of ripening:

Harrow Delight

AC Harrow Gold

Harvest Queen

AC Harrow Crisp

Harovin Sundown

Harrow Sweet

Harovin Bounty

There are others in the pipeline,notably HW623 (4 weeks after Bartlett) ,which is being released commercially for testing.

They really have done a nice job of breeding good tasting and quality blight resistant pears that ripen pretty much all season long. I am very impressed.

In terms of taste, as a home grower, I would plant the following, if available to me.

Harrow Delight

AC Harrow Gold

Harvest Queen

Harrow Sweet


I would consider Harovin Sundown…my understanding is the flavor varies and can be astringent at times and delightful at others.


Great to hear more endorsements for Harrow Sweet. This is the first pear I’ve put in the ground. I’ve got the Gorham pear grafted onto it. Can’t wait to taste it.

I like late-season pears. Others I plan to grow are:

-Magness (the best!)
-Fondante de Moulin-Lille
-Winter Nelis

That is very interesting. Have you ever heard of this happening with Harrow Delight? The reason I have the Harvest Queen is that ~4 years ago I bought a Harrow Delight from Cummins. The first crop was very sweet (~18 brix), but astringent. The first bite was fine, but after a minute it felt like eating cotton. I emailed them to ask about it and they said it must be a mislabel. They were going to send me another, but didn’t have any on Quince, which is how I got the Harvest Queen.

But, if some of the Harrow pears are astringent under some conditions, maybe it wasn’t really a peary pear in disguise. For what it’s worth, the 2nd year was astringent as well. I’d try harder to figure out what to do with the pears (add to cider?), but it hasn’t grown very much at all and I don’t get more than half a dozen per year. I started grafting over it last year and the grafts grew much more quickly than the original tree.

Do you have any info on what conditions produce the astringency? Maybe I can tweak things…

Magness has lived up to it’s slow-to-bear reputation for me (see above post).

Fondante is indeed very good. I did a pear sampling last fall at work and a Chinese co-worker (who normally prefers Asian pears) like the Fondante better than all 5 of the Asian pears we were trying (3 grown by me and the other 2 from a farmer’s market).


Often astringency in pears is simply resolved by storage. Such is the case with Harovin Sundown. So it often becomes an exercise in picking the pears at the correct time, cooling them down, storing them and then ripening them. That sounds complicated but when you think of it, that is how pears have been handled, i.e. picked green, stored and ripened off the tree.