Last year we got our first ever pear harvest. I have several varieties, but star of the show was the Concorde, an established cross between Comice and Conference. One young tree kept us supplied with delicious pears for a couple of weeks.
So over the winter in our forays to the plant auctions I purchased a further four Concorde pear trees. Well, you can guess what's happened this year. Not a single pear, not even from the more established tree! Some fruits seem to work like this, plums especially, one year a bumper crop and the next year nothing.
But the Beth and the Williams in the chicken enclosure have come to the fore instead. These pears are different in that they need to be picked before they are fully ripe. If you leave then on the tree they go grainy.
I picked most of the Beths a couple of weeks ago and they have now been eaten. Delicious they were too.
The ones growing on the lower branches fell victim to jumping chickens, who very much appreciate a pear to play with.
The Williams weren't quite ready, but when I cleaned out the chickens last weekend I noticed that three of them had committed suicide by falling off the tree straight into the chickens' water. So I picked out the rest, enough to fill a basket. It's not much, but it makes a welcome contribution to our diet and I anticipate ever increasing yields from all of our orchard trees.
Now, a week later, the Williams are ripe and very juicy. There are 9 trays drying in the dehydrator and almost ready as I type. I tried a slice and the flavour just kept increasing in waves.
I expect next year we'll have no Williams or Beths but five trees full of Concorde pears. I won't be complaining.