Picking Pears

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March 15th 2006
Published: April 1st 2006
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Having secured a job pear picking on Lammerview Orchard, Ettrick. We turned up the afternoon before & met Judith who showed us the openfire bungalow where we would be staying & the two girls we were sharing it with, Eva from Wales & Nicole from Holland. We were given a free run of the property which included a swimming pool, herb garden & acres of pear & apple trees & were given loads of fresh fruit & veggies to cook with.
The morning started at 8:30 when Alistair came round to the house with Ram a Nepalese ex-policeman who was also going to be picking with us. We signed our contracts & tax forms but couldn't start work yet as it had rained the night before & we had to wait for the trees to dry off. We set off to the orchard on the other side of the property at around ten & were given a row of trees each to strip of all the good pears. After a quick lesson on how to pick & handle the pears without bruising them we started picking.
The pears were Doyenne du Comice & once picked they would be sent down the road for packing & shipped to America for eating.

A few facts about the pears for those interested, which is probably noone:
They are large, somewhat dumpy pears, yellowish green often with a slight pinkish blush and thickish skin. Regarded as the finest flavored pear when well grown in conditions it likes. When well grown and properly ripened, it has extremely fine smooth flesh, and is oustandingly sweet as well as very juicy. When conditions don't suit it and it is not well grown and picked at the right time, it is grainy, poor, and somewhat astringent. For best results, it should be refrigerated before it is taken out to ripen. The tree is upright and vigorous. Tends toward biennial bearing. Ready late february/march in NZ. Pollenizers are Beurre Bosc, William's Bon Chretien or Winter Nelis. Compatible with quince.

Having filled a few bins with pears the day finished at about 6:15 & we made our way back to the house decidedly more scratched, tired & aching than when we started. It was lovely to go back to somewhere that felt like home even if it was for only a short while & we spent the evening cooking delicious food making good use of the fresh produce from the gardens & greenhouses.

Drink of the Day: Monteiths Summer Ale (very much like ginger ale)


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