The California Bartlett Pear Facts
The famed Bartlett pear originated in Berkshire, England in the late 17th century, by a schoolmaster named John Stair. Stair sold a few of his pear tree cuttings to a Mr. Williams, who further refined it and renamed it after himself. The "Williams" pear, which is still used to make the legendary pear brandy "Poire William", crossed the Atlantic with the Quakers who adapted it to the table.
The pleasing Quaker pear found fame and fortune in 1812, through the good offices of nurseryman Enoch Bartlett, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, who unaware of its true name, distributed it under his own name. Ever since, the pear has been known as the Bartlett- at least on this side of the Atlantic. The "Bartlett" went West next, in the covered wagons of the settlers and prospectors headed for the California Gold Rush. Thus, at the turn of the 20th century, it finally found the ideal climate in which to flourish.
Growing the Perfect Pear
- Rich soil, plenty of water, warm days, and cool nights are the best conditions for Bartlett pear growth.
- California Bartlett pear trees are in production for an average of 50 to 75 years, although some trees still produce fruit after 100 years.
- It takes five to seven years for a Bartlett pear tree to produce fruit.
- Bartlett pear trees are unique because they are self-pollinating. They do not require bees for this process.
- Pears come from a species of tree of a genus in the rose family.
- Bartlett pears do not ripen properly on the tree, so growers pick the fruit when it is mature but green.
- Bartlett pears are harvested by hand, placed in bins, and transported to a packing house where they are graded for quality, sorted by size, and packed for the fresh market or sent to a processing facility.
- In winter, California Bartlett pear trees are pruned and replacement trees are planted.
In collaboration with the California Pear Advisory Board
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