Picking the year’s last pear

Reaching for the pear

Out of reach, the last pear clings stubbornly to the highest branch. Shall I wait for it to fall? The highest fruit is the sweetest, so better pick it now. Beneath it, our little pond makes a ladder-proof barrier. Perhaps I can just reach it with the fishing net we use for clearing pond-weed?

Poised for retrieval

I reach up tentatively towards the fruit and give it a tug, but it misses the net and falls with a plop into the pond. Down and out of sight, it bobs up seconds later. Grasping the net again, I go to scoop it up, but in my haste go too deep and haul up a startled frog from its winter quarters. Fair exchange is no robbery I think, returning the creature, and collecting the pear – both unbruised after their adventure.

The pear well-washed, will improve with storing a week or two to finish ripening, but should prove flavoursome like its fellows. We brought two trees with us to Rye over 20 years ago as young saplings, and they have rewarded us each year with blossom and fruit in season. We picked the Beurré Superfin at the end of September, but Josephine de Malines is a traditional winter pear – for us a more difficult fruit that we often resort to cooking with a Bramley apple.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .


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