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Pear Tree Chronicles, Album: 2010 in life of century old tree
Jim and Sharon Whitehurst spied the old timey pear tree before they bought the Haskell Rogers place in Gradyville, KY, from J.M. Shelley. She kept a diary of the tree through 2010, from its leafless winter stage through spring glory, the summer, and the fall fruit, to finally, the treasured tree in late fall, leafless and looking vulnerable, but loved, just the same.
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By Sharon Whitehurst
Haskell Rogers believes that the pear tree is at least 100 years old. Haskell told us that his family moved to the Gradyville neighborhood from Metcalfe County when he was a boy and the pear tree was already a noticeable landmark.
He calls it an "old-timey pear", a name which I have heard when speaking with a number of older area residents.
Haskell also referred to it as a "winter pear" and stated that he was sometimes able to enjoy the fresh pears as late as Christmas time by wrapping the best ones in newspaper and laying them on a basement shelf.
We salvaged the last of this year's harvest in November, turning them into a batch of pear honey.
Again it was Haskell who explained how to make this preserve. He had used an electric sausage grinder to reduce the pears to small bits, added "a little sugar" and cooked them down.
I found several recipes on-line, but ended up experimenting. I put the quartered pears through a hand-cranked food grinder, added some pineapple juice and about half as much sugar as any recipe called for. After hours of simmering and stirring we called the pear honey good.
Doing a Google search for "old-timey pear" I found the following which may be relevant:
Appalachian Home Cooking: History, Culture, and RecipesI went on to search using 'Kieffer pear" as my keyword.
I found that various nurseries all over the southern US offer the Kieffer pear, in standard, semi-dwarf and dwarf varieties.
Their descriptions seem to tally with the vintage pear on our Gradyville acreage.
We would be interested in feed-back from fruit tree growers in the area or folks that have a similar tree. We've also wondered if there are any folks around that have experience in fruit tree grafting.
It would be good to think that offspring from this particular grand old tree would continue to flourish.
This story was posted on 2010-12-31 03:38:28
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