The Blue Anchor Fruit Shed in Loomis was my hangout during the summers when I was in college. Uncle Albert, my grandmother’s brother, was the supervisor of the pear shed, and feeling lucky to have a job, I spent many long hours in the hot, open air, metal roofed building, standing with my friends in front of a conveyor belt sorting out wormy pears for the pig man, oversized pears for the cannery, and beautiful pears to be packed into wooden boxes with the Camel Brand label and shipped by rail to distant cities to the east.
Since Uncle Albert also grew pears on the family ranch, I learned to love them and eat them in many ways.
This month at NP we have several kinds of locally grown pears including no-spray Bartlett and Hosui Asian Pears from Jon Ohnoki in Auburn, organic Bartletts from Boorinakis-Harper Ranch in Auburn, and Bosc and Red Crimson from Stillwater Ranch, Courtland.
Pears pair wonderfully with many types of cheeses and are a wonderful addition to a cheese plate along with some dried cranberries and a handful of walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds. The creamy texture of goat or cream cheese makes a nice contrast with the grainy texture of pears. For an elegant appetizer spread a layer of creamy cheese on a cracker or crostini, add a few thin slices of pear, a drizzle of balsamic and a few walnut pieces.
Pears make wonderful tarts, pies, and crisps, and pair wonderfully with vanilla and chocolate.
You can even poach pears in red wine. Simmer peeled whole bosc pears (they hold up best) until tender in your favorite wine flavored with wine mulling spices and sugar. Serve these with whipped cream.
Happy Fall! Jan