September is a great time of year. The heat of summer is (mostly) behind us. The fall harvest has begun. Tomatoes, beans, peppers, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, and plenty more veggies are overflowing in gardens and at farmer’s markets across Southwestern Ontario. The bounty doesn’t end there, as apples are beginning to ripen, raspberry bushes and ever-bearing strawberries are enjoying their second flush, plus you can still find grapes, peaches, and plums to tickle your taste buds with.
While apples tend to steal the spotlight come the Fall, there is another tree fruit that is just as much fun to pick, as it is to eat, and you can find them at area farms around here. I am talking about a member of the Rosaceae family, from the Pyrus genus – none other than the delicious and nutritious Pear!
According to Foodland Ontario, the five major pears to be found in Ontario are the Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc, Clapp’s Favourite, and Flemish Beauty. Bartlett pears are not only the most popular in Canada, but the most common pears in the world. They are the light green to yellow, bell-shaped pears, with the soft touch and sweet taste that everyone loves. Of course pears of any kind are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and K, potassium, and a whole host of other vitamins and nutrients. Before you go to peel a pear into your fruit salad though, know that most of the vitamin and fibre benefits are found in a pear’s skin, so reconsider peeling it. Heck, the best way to enjoy it is to give your pear a quick rinse and bite right into it!
So where do you go to find some of these scrumptious treats around London, Ontario? Any of the area farmers markets are sure to have local pears available, but a trip to the actual farm where they are grown is good for a day of fun too. Try these local growers;
- Crunican Brothers Orchards at 23778 Richmond St, London has apples and peaches, in addition to pears. They also carry honey, maple syrup, peanuts, and other products derived from locally sourced produce. Their hours are Monday to Friday 9 am – 6 pm, Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, and Sunday 12 – 5 pm.
- Dwarf Tree Orchard at 1697 Byron Baseline Rd, London also has pears, as well as apples and pumpkins. They are open daily in September and October from 10 am – 6 pm for pick-your-own or ready-picked produce.
- Great Lakes Farms at 5111 Union Rd, Port Stanley was one of the few growers around that managed to have apples on their trees last year, and this year all their trees are loaded. They have apples, peaches, pumpkins, and strawberries, as well as Bartlett and Flemish Beauty pears. It’s your choice whether you go for ready-picked or opt for pick-your-own, but the pears are ready!
- Talbotville Berry Farm at 11054 Sunset Rd, St Thomas has more than just berries for sale. They are open daily from 9 am – 6 pm. Aside from offering pears and other produce, they also have a 5-acre corn maze, wagon rides, and plenty of other Fall family fun for everyone.
Now you just have to decide what to do with them, once you’ve got some sweet pears in hand. Will you can them, juice them, turn them into jam or jelly, or perhaps craft them into breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert? I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Share your best pear recipes with me please!