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CSA 2014 – Week 16

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I ate a pear the other day.

Actually that’s a big deal for me because I don’t much like pears. I probably eat more peaches in 1 day than I do pears all season.

We’ve always grown pears. Our oldest pear trees were planted by my father back in 1953. Many of them are still producing good fruit. Pear trees can last a long time! Our “new” pear orchard was set out in 1999. The plan was to remove the old trees when these young ones came into production, but we’ve kept them all since they are still bearing good fruit. Now that my father is gone, we perhaps keep them for sentimental reasons – they are some of the last trees left on the farm (along with a few cherries) that he planted.

Here at Thiessen Farms we grow 9 varieties of pears. Harvest begins in late August and runs through the middle of September.

Harrow Delight & Harvest Queen are picked first. They are small pears, best eaten when still crunchy.

Bartletts are our main pear, usually picked around Labour Day. Bartletts are picked green & hard and store well for a long time. Left at room temperature they will turn yellow & soften – this is when they are the sweetest. They are a multipurpose pear – great for eating, canning,  jam, baking & cooking …

The little Seckel pears come next. Seckels are tiny, crunchy & sweet. They never will get really soft. Best used for eating, they can also be poached or pickled. Because of their size, Seckels are perfect for kids lunches.

Flemish Beauty – a flat, squat pear & certainly the most delicious pear (even I almost like these)! We only have a few trees – wish we had a lot more.

We picked our Bosc pears today. They are a long, russeted, almost brown coloured pear. They ripen to a golden brown & get extremely sweet. Sometimes they are known as Christmas pears because they can easily store till Christmas or longer if kept refrigerated. Bosc can also be canned, poached, and used for cooking.

Harrow Sweet finish the main pear season, and are another variety that is best eaten while still a bit crunchy.

Asian pears  (we only have about a dozen trees ) are harvested in late September. We have a yellow variety & a brown kind, but I don’t know their actual names. They look like an apple but have a light, juicy texture with incredible sweetness.

All these pears are sold at our farmers’ markets. However, most of our pears had a light crop this season so there won’t be as many as usual.

The Bartlett, Bosc & Seckel can also be found in our CSA boxes.

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(from left to right) Seckel, Bartlett, Flemish Beauty, Bosc and Harrow Sweet.

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Bosc

 

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Bosc

 

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Harrow Sweet

 

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Bartlett

 

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Seckel

What’s in the box?

Italian plums, Bartlett pears, Seckel pears, kale, sweet peppers, onions & garlic.

  • Italians plums are an old favourite variety (and the only kind that had a crop for us this season). Great for eating, baking, jam … these freestone plums get quite sweet as they soften.
  • Bartlett pears & Seckel are included in this week’s box. See descriptions & possible uses above.
  • The kale is thriving in this cooler weather!
  • It’s a great season for sweet peppers! If you’re not keeping up with eating them, store in a plastic bag in the fridge – they keep for several weeks. Or chop them up & put in the freezer. They are great in soups, casseroles and sauces this coming winter.
  • Our Ailsa Craig onions are the onions that never end, but everyone seems to be enjoying them still.
  • Remember to store garlic in a dry & cool place (it should keep until late winter, or even spring).

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Italian plums

 Thank you for remembering to return containers!

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