Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits, dating back to 5,000 B.C. when a Chinese diplomat forsook his public responsibilities and began grafting pears, persimmons, almonds and other members of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. Although exact origins are not known, it is suspected that two strains of pears developed simultaneously, the Asian or apple pear, in China and the other, more common soft flesh pear, in Europe and Northern Africa. Pears grew quickly in popularity and where eventually brought to North American by colonial settlers in the mid sixteenth century. Today pears remain a popular crop in the United States, with over 600,000 tons of pears being harvested nationally and 75,000 metric tons of pears being imported from China, Chile, New Zealand and Argentina for US consumption.
There are over 3,000 varieties of pears and about a dozen popular types in the US. The most common pear is the Bartlett, also known as the Stairs or Williams pear. The term “pear shaped” takes it lead from the Bartlett pear’s wide base and tapered neckline. Bartlett’s speckled green skin turns yellow as it ripens. They are delicious fresh, baked or canned. Other common pear varieties include the Anjou, Asian, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel, and Stark. Asian pears are round and crisp. Unlike other pears that will yield to pressure when ripe, Asian pears remain firm and can only be judged for ripeness by their aromatic smell.
With the help of Stony Ridge Farm, Fieldstone Orchard and The Orchard, Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market will host Lawrence’s inaugural Pear Affair! Sample nearly a dozen different varieties of pears, gather some recipes for pear dishes and shop for pears from several area farmers. Stop by Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market this Thursday, September 13, 2012 and taste some of the season’s finest fruits. Oliver Good from the band Vegetable will provide back ground music for the event and Mr. Bacon BBQ will be on hand serving up his delicious pig pie, chick pie, pulled pork and maybe even some of his infamous Mr. Bacon Burritos!
Avery Lominska will have his pepper roaster fired up and rolling, so you can smell the deliciousness of fall in the air and purchase a bag or two of roasted peppers to take home with you.
The farmers and the bakers will be there too, with fresh picked fall produce including an amazing late crop of tomatoes, kale, chard, arugula, winter squash, root vegetables, and freshly baked breads and sundries.
Free State Brewing Company and Iwig Dairy will sell their wares at market, affording market goers a chance to make some special pairings of beer and pears or ice cream and pears…
As an added bonus Just Food will be at the market promoting their upcoming food drive. Just Food is one of those great non-profits where you know that everything you donate goes right into the tummies of those who need it most!
Come join the fun this week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market, located behind Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, in Lawrence. The market runs Thursdays, through October, from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm.