When is Harrow Sweet ripe at your location? Or any other variety

I don’t have a good fix on when Harrow Sweet will ripen in my area. When do you start picking at your location? I picked three today for a test. Plan to let these stay on the counter a few day until the stem end starts to soften.

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Very timely question, Bill. I am quite frustrated with not knowing when to pick Euro pears even after several years of growing them.

At least the ones that do not need refrigeration like Ayers or Harrow Sweet, it is a bit easier. Those that need refrigeration, I got them wrong more than right. The outcome - internal rot.

This year because of a very dry and hot summer we had here, fruit seem to ripen 1-2 weeks earlier than previous years. Make it even more difficult to pick them at the right time.


Tippy, have you picked your HS yet? I figure mine should be ripe about the same time as yours. I only have one on the tree but I’m hoping to pick it close to the right time.

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Unless I come up with a better plan I will pick about three per week and see if I can get a rough idea of their ripening date. Our hot and humid summers appear to alter the ripening time each year. In years past I have eaten a few HS that was at an excellent stage and they rated high on my taste list of pears.

I looked back my notes:
2015 9/27
2016 10/2
2017 10/16
2018 9/21
2019 10/6

The ones picked in Oct, if not eaten right away, suffered internal rot.
I plan to pick mine this year around Sept 20-24. I may refrigerate them for a week or let they ripen on the counter (if there is no fridge space).


Thank you

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I just picked Ayers and Seckel. They dropped in my hands.

Do we need to refrigerate Seckel?

Seckel does not need refrigeration supposedly. My tree is right by the squirrel escape route and I have yet to taste one in ten years.

This year I messed up on a couple varieties. Aurora was soft by the stem which is usually a good guide but I picked too early - they are not ripening and the seeds are not all brown. Harrow Delight I didn’t notice until they were mush. Too bad as the couple good pears left were top-notch. Fortunately I did get a good crop of Magness with what looks like good timing.

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My opinion is if your Ayers are ripe when they are picked you can delay the spoil date if kept cool in a refrigerator. If they are a little under ripe I let then stay on the counter a few day. With that said I’m not good on deciding when to pick them. Wish they were as easy as Korean Giant.

These are the dates that I picked my Ayers.
I don’t have any info on the Seckel. I think it was mislabeled and I removed it.

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Would it be OK if I mentioned other pears, too (should have asked sooner :relaxed:)?

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Sure, its fearless leaders like you who get simple minds like myself into trouble!:laughing:

No problem. I would like to see more.

Thanks, Bill. I have a few more pears this year to try.

Thanks @scottfsmith. I harvested my first crop of Seckel this year. I have about 3 dozens total from two grafts. One graft is on Korean Giant. The other on 20th Century pear.

The ones on KG gets more sun and are ripening so I picked some today, 9/11/20. Ate one tonight and found that its skin kind of bitter. Once I peeled skin off, it was nice. Brix was 17.

My Seckel pears.


I also picked all Ayers today, 9/11/20. I saw a couple dropped in bags so I picked them. This year they are very small, smaller than Seckels.

I do not refrigerate Ayers. Ate one today. Not as sweet as Seckel. Forgot the brix it.


I find it interesting that the ripening dates for Harrow Sweet are similar to areas further south.

HORTSCIENCE 27(12):1331-1334. 1992.
‘Harrow Sweet’ Pear
David M. Hunter and Phil Pinsonneault
Agriculture Canada Research Branch, Research Station, Harrow, Ont.
NOR 1G0, Canada

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This is very helpful. I may pick a little later than the Harrow Station average but it is good to have such a reference. Thank you.

I have those varieties. Only Harvest Queen has not set fruit. I picked Harrow Delight too late this year ( this pear is so early, I forgot about it). All suffered internal rot :confounded:

I just picked my lonely Bartlett today, the rest got damaged by critters.

Many pear varieties are like plums in my area in that late cold weather will kill the blooms or young fruit. With that in mind I have decided on a few critical criteria that I want and ripening date is one of them. My opinion is that if I can’t get passed the first two criteria there isn’t much use in growing that variety. I have some early bloomers that will only have a small presence and the more dependable ones will gain space. The problem is that it takes several years to make good determinations of those factors in an area.
-Bloom time
-Fireblight resistance/disease resistant
-Ripening time


Picked all mine today, 9/29/20. Not many but they are good size and clean inside nylon bags.


Your HS looks perfect. Although I didn’t pick all mine at the right time I did get the last picking about right. I learned a lot this year and hope to get better timing next year. HS is worth the effort in my opinion.

I hid the ugly ones :laughing:.

I don’t have a lot, only about 30 pears so it was not too hard to bag them all. As you can see, they don’t ripen at the same time. The ones on the left are riper/yellower. I saw squirrel bit one fruit in the bag, ruined the fruit. I am not waiting for them to eat others so I picked them all.

At this point, they are ripe as their skin is pale green to yellowish.