They say winter is when pears are “in season.” For the past couple or three years I have been noticing the best Bartlett pears available locally are from Argentina. I know…eating local doesn’t include produce from another continent. I don’t really see many local pears at the stores, though. And the ones marked “USA” are most likely from California, which isn’t local either.
Most local pears I’ve tried have hard grainy bits through the flesh. I don’t know what causes this, but it ruins them for me. Pears should have soft, smooth, aromatic flesh. (Only once, I had some local red pears in late summer that were spectacular. They were from Scott and Barbara’s farm in Moore.) And lots of run-of-the-mill grocery store pears just aren’t good either. They often don’t ripen uniformly. They tend to be brown in the center when they are finally soft outside. But when I find Bartlett pears with the bright blue Argentina sticker, it seems like they are always good.
I thought maybe the season was over, but they turned up at Kroger a couple weeks ago. I try buy them when they are green and fairly hard, that way I can get them home without damaging them. This means you have to plan ahead, since it will take 5-7 days till they are a buttery-yellow, peach-soft, and peary-delicious! It puts me in the mood to make a pear tart–but you can enjoy them as they are, of course. And this would be a great time to try the pear salad that Laurie posted on this site. Here are the pears I bought yesterday, $1.99/#