Fresh Eats Blog: Pears

 In Market News

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: pears.

Did You Know?

Did you know there are over three thousand varieties of pears grown in the world but none are native to North America?

Due to their low acidity, pears are often suggested for weaning babies as they are not too hash or their digestive system. This fruit has more fibre and potassium than apples!

A medium sized pear has about 300 calories and used to be known as “butter fruit” for its soft, butter-like texture. Pears are in season in South West British Columbia from August until December! Make sure you stop by the market this Sunday to try some of the province’s best!

Recipe of the Week

Caramelized Pears

Courtesy of MARTHA STEWART LIVING

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium pears, quartered and cored
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Salt
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:

Step 1- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high.

Step 2- Add pears, one cut side down, and cook until browned, then reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes. Turn pears to other cut side and cook 4 minutes.

Step 3- Add sugar and 1 tablespoon water, swirling pan to combine. Turn pears skin side down and cook until sauce is thickened slightly, 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and pinch of salt.

Step 4- Serve warm with ice cream!

Ingredients at the Market

Pears:

Butter: Golden Ears Cheescrafters

Ice Cream: Rocky Point Ice Cream

Other Greens and Vegetables: Amazia Farm, Beckmann Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Langley Organic Growers, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To Grow

Pear Growing 101:

Step 1- In order to produce fruit, you need to plant more than one variety of pear tree. This will allow cross-pollination but ensure these varieties are compatible.

Step 2- Make sure you plant your trees in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun that has good are circulation.

Step 3- Space the trees 20 to 25 feet apart. If you are using dwarf trees, space them 12 to 15 feet apart. For trees that come from containers, remove the plant. Use shears to remove any circling roots. For grafted trees, position the inside of the curve of the graft union away from the sun when planting.

Step 4- Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them. Do not add fertilizer or topsoil to the hole.

Step 5- Make sure you water your young tree enough in order to establish roots.

Step 6- Add a small amount of fertilizer. If you have highly fertile soil, use less fertilizer.

Note: Do not add too much fertilizer because it is important for the tree to not have too much nitrogen!

Step 7- Prune your trees to either a central leader system or a modified leader system (this is easier to maintain). If you have a dwarf tree it is better to prune to a central leader system.

Step 8- During the first summer, remove any shoots that form within 18 inches of the ground. The result of this should look like a Christmas tree. Prune your trees regularly and thin the fruit as well.

Note: After your trees are established, water them regularly.

Step 9- When harvesting the fruit, pick them when they are fully grown but still very hard. Keeping the fruit at room temperature to ripen will produce the best product.

Pears in B.C.

Did you know pears are one of the very few fruit that don’t fully ripen on the tree? In Canada, commercial pear production is limited to regions with a mild winter climate. The tops producers of pears in this country are Ontario, Nova Scotia and B.C.!

The climate in B.C.’s Okanagan make growing pears easy and successful but this fruit is grown across the southern region of this province.

Hundreds of farmers have been growing pears in B.C. for decades with no sign of slowing down!

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