First Pear Harvest

They may not be huge but these are our first ever pears from our cordons, planted five years ago as small maiden whips I have tended them, tied them in and pruned them into shape. The apple cordons were quick to take and we've been harvesting them for nearly three years but the pears have taken longer as they are more prone to late frost damage. The biggest yield for us is a lesser known pear by the name of Hessle, which is a heritage variety suitable for us because of the fluctuations in temperature. It's a dessert pear, old English, with white and juicy flesh. Normally they're ready from October onwards but pears tend to continue ripening off the tree so each time I pass the cordon I give the pears a little grope (for there is no other way to describe the cupping of a pear which is somewhat more intimate when you are a male gardener) and gently weigh them in my cupped hand, lift them and if they come away from the tree they are ready to go indoors. Before you do though, just place them to your nose and smell them for there is something so intoxicating, sensual and primitive about the smell of pears. It is more than a smell, it lingers on the tongue and in the back of the throat for minutes. No wonder our ancestors prized them more than apples.

Hessle pears

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