The other day, I was teaching my high school nutrition students about seasonal produce and food accessibility. They initially looked at me with blank stares. What does seasonal mean to food secure students that have access to berries, melon and citrus fruit no matter what the growing season is?
I suppose I’m old school in this way. Growing up, our groceries only carried food that was in season. Spring and summer meant berries, peaches and melon. Fall and winter were for apples, pears and citrus fruit. I wouldn’t have thought about eating pineapple or berries in the winter. It just wasn’t done! The song Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds always comes to mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4
I still follow seasons, despite the availability of a variety of produce. I also follow in my dad’s footsteps and shop at stores depending on what part of town I’m in. Recently, I was returning from work and near Hartwell. I stopped into Country Fresh Market on Vine St. https://www.countryfreshfarmmarket.com/ I love this little market because of the great variety of locally grown produce as well as their great selection of cheese, spices, beer and wine. The staff is also super friendly and the footprint is small.
One of my favorite parts of the store is what I have dubbed, the “almost rotten rack”. This is the section of the store that you’ll find the discounted produce-bruised apples, slightly browning fresh herbs and very ripe melon. The produce is always offered at a great price and should be used within a day or two of purchase. This fills my need to reduce food waste, save money, and get a variety of interesting produce to try. A few “bad apples” means applesauce!
This week, as part of a collection of apples, was one lone Starkrimson pear. I’d never heard or seen this variety anywhere. I suppose Jungle Jims may carry them, but JJ is like Disney Land to me- a destination grocery, but just too big to shop for every day items.
Back to my pear- it was pearfectly ready to be eaten! This variety of pear is grown in Oregon and Washington and is considered a “summer pear”- it’s season is August through November. It gets its name from the Stark Brothers Nursery who first patented and grew the pear in 1956. As the pear ripens, it becomes a beautiful red hue.
The flavor and texture were outstanding! It’s floral and sweet with a smooth, less grainy bite. As you can see in the picture, the skin is more delicate than other pears. I think it would be delicious when ‘peared’ with bleu cheese and pecans, but I ate it straight up after washing. Nothing compears to the taste!
If you see this lovely pear in your store- buy some! They’re not around for long.