Three pear species account for the vast majority of pear production: the European Pear (Pyrus communis) cultivated mainly in Europe and North America, the Chinese white pear (Pyrus bretschneideri), and the Nashi or Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia). We grow both European and Asian pears here at Frog Hollow Farm with our most notable varietal being the famously delicious Warren. Stone fruits often steal the show, while the amazing taste and texture of pears remains undiscovered by most consumers. We grow four varieties of European pears and three varieties of Asian pears. Pears are the only fruit we grow that ripens off the tree and while our harvest is in August and September, our pears continue to ripen with varieties available from October to January.
Shinseiki Asian Pear
Asian pears are also known as "apple pears" as they're often described as having the texture and shape of the apple but with the smooth sweetness of a pear. Botanically, they're true pears and are native to China and Japan. The Shinseiki is medium-sized pear with smooth yellow skin. They're nicely crisp with a sweet white flesh that's refreshingly juicy. Shinseikis are harvested in mid to late August.
Hosui Asian Pear
The Hosui is popular in both Japan and in California. They have a rougher, thicker skin than the Shinseiki with flesh that while still crunchy has a more melting mouthful, making the texture combination when eaten out of hand spectacular. Very juicy and sweet with a milder pear taste, their round shape and beautiful golden hue make them ideal for presentation with a distinctively Autumnal feel. Hosuis are harvested in late August to mid-September.
Shinko Asian Pear
The Shinko is a large pear with its round shape slightly flattened. The skin is bronze with brown russeting and its juicy, creamy white flesh has a subtly rich flavor. One of the last pears to pick, it comes off the tree with a butterscotch note to its sweetness. Shinkos are harvested in mid-September.
Warren European Pear
The Warren is to our pears as the Cal Red is to our peaches and the Flavor King to our pluots. This is Frog Hollow Farm's signature pear and for good reason. It has a great origin story, discovered by Thomas Oscar Warren growing naturally outside a post office in Hattiesburg, MS. Once known as the Post Office pear, it's taken on its founder name is a favorite of chefs. Too difficult to grow for most farmers to consider it's never caught on commercially but Farmer Al has never shied away from putting the time and effort into a fruit that tastes so good. It has a classic European texture, very soft and juicy with a silky sweetness that avoids the typical grittiness found in most pears. Warrens are harvested in late August.
Golden Russet Bosc European Pear
The Bosc is a strikingly decorative pear that's reputed to have first sprung to life as a wild seedling in the mid-18th century. It was introduced to the US in 1836 and has also been known as the Kaiser Alexander. The Golden Russet is true to its name with a yellowish-white flesh and a uniformly russet skin. It has the classic Bosc shape of a long elegant neck. Excellent for cooking with, the Bosc's texture holds up very well in pies, tarts, and for poaching. Golden Russet Boscs are harvested in mid-September.
Seckel European Pear
A varietal that pre-dates the Bosc, the Seckel is much smaller in size and finds its origins near Philadelphia in the early 1800s. Also known as sugar pears, the Seckel is green with a dark-red blush or in some cases nearly all red. It's extremely sweet with almost no acid and its fine flesh is very juicy. Seckels are harvested in mid-September.
Taylor's Gold European Pear
The Taylor's Gold was discovered in 1986 by Michael King-Turner in his Riwaka orchard near Nelson, New Zealand. It's believed to be a mutation of a Comice or possibly even a cross between a Bosc and a Comice. It's sweet, juicy, and tender with a rough cinnamon-colored skin and speckled gold flush. It can grow the largest of the varieties we tend and like the Warren is equally well suited to eating fresh or using in holiday desserts. Taylor's Gold pears are harvested in early September.