Farmer brown

Yesterday, I talked abut interviewing farmers and learning the value of really, really fresh foods. But I also interviewed farmers who gave me a glimpse as to where our food comes from.

I must say, I found it all quite fascinating. If you find this fascinating, too, here are few interesting facts I got from a pear farmer:
  • There is a thrust these days toward using dwarf fruit trees, such as pear trees. While dwarf trees are common in Europe, where farming land is at a premium, it is pretty innovative here.
  • You can fit about 450 dwarf pear trees per acre. Standard pear trees are about 130 per acre. This increase in the number of trees means there is a much higher yield - more pears per acre.
  • It takes five years for newly planted dwarf trees to be ready for harvesting (standard pear trees take 10 years before they can be harvested).
  • The trees grow to four or five feet. Because they are so short, you don’t need a ladder to harvest the trees. This means they are safer and easier to work with.
  • There is no such thing as a dwarf peach.
Can’t you just see row after row of gorgeous pears? I can. And when I get my hands on some, I plan to slice them very, very thin (I use a mandoline which is priceless for this sort of thing and rather fun) and bake them in a simple custard pie (divine). Or core them and cut them in half from tip to bottom and pop them in a hot oven with broken bits of dark, bittersweet chocolate (one candy bar-size piece is enough for two halved pears) and a splash of brandy until the pears are soft and the chocolate is melted (served with a dollop of whipped cream and you will be sure you’re tasting heaven).

Of course, my favorite thing to do is to put them in a pretty porcelain tray, just lined up and looking absolutely scrumptious and deciding which one to eat first.