Today we cleaned a pear tree for a seasonal resident. It took four of us an hour and a half to pick about 200 pounds of pears. For the homeowners we're providing a service -- ridding their tree of fruit they can't use and which would attract bears and wasps. We get free fruit if we want, or fruit to donate to community groups.
Whatever shall we do with all these pears? People in this family are not fond enough of pears to justify doing much if any canning.
They need a few days to ripen off the tree. Then I suppose we'll start madly dehydrating them and pressing them to make cider. We did a few gallons of apple cider last week with the early apples. A combination of apple and pear will give a nice tart cider that we can donate to the preschool. But I'm still not sure how we'll use so many!
This is an amazing year for fruit in our area. The huckleberries were lush in the sub-alpine during August and the apple, pear and plum trees are so laden with fruit that their branches are breaking under the weight. And yet the bears have yet to descend from the mountains. Every morning I wake up and check the fruit trees first thing, and every morning they're still bending under the weight of their ripening fruit.
Our Gravenstein apple tree has normally been cleaned of still-small unripe apples by the end of August thanks to ursine visitors. This year the heavy branches are brushing the ground, the apples are so thick they almost seem to outnumber the leaves. And the fruit is juicy and almost maximally sweet.