How to choose the perfect pear

Farmers Markets in Boulder County

This year, in these first few days of fall, we came to a very important conclusion: pears are the unsung heroes of the fruits grown in Colorado.

There’s a sweet, buttery Bartlett pear. Ripe Asian pears, red Dominguez pears which are juicy and slightly flowery. Pears are perfect for packing into a lunch box, elevating your baking projects or even pairing cheese into delicious dishes. In general, if you are only lining up to get peaches and apples in our markets, you are making a huge mistake.

Top of the crop: pear top fruit

Topp Fruits LLC is a family farm that operates USDA certified organic orchards in three locations on Colorado’s West Slope in the cities of Paonia and Hotchkiss. They join us on Boulder’s Wednesday Market and our first online marketplace in 2022. They are dedicated to improving soil health, tree health, water efficiency and production diversity.

Pick up a bag of pears at Boulder Market Wednesday 4-7:30 p.m. or order online at  (Farmers Markets in Boulder County??

Since Harrison Top has clearly mastered the art of growing delicious pears, we had to ask him a few questions:

s: What types of pears do you grow, and what are your favorite ones?

a: We grow Bartlett pears, Red Dominguez, and Bosque. I really like Red Dominguez. It is similar to Bartlett, but can take on a beautiful red color. It also tastes great. Pears are the most common fruit we grow. They can be tough, but they are really special when they are ripe and ready to eat.

s: How is pear cultivation different from other fruit trees?

a: The pear has a lot of similarities with the apple, but there are also some differences. Things like codling moth and fire blight are problems with pears, just like apples; But pruning, training and harvesting are completely different. For example, there are a number of tools we use to determine if an apple is ready, including a starch test, a Brix reading, and tasting just to get the best flavor. But with pears, one of our only tools for determining when to pick is a penetration meter, or fruit stability tester. Unlike apples, once the pears are picked, we need to refrigerate them for about two weeks for the flavors and textures to mature. Then they still need to set off for another five to seven days until they are ready to eat. So in order to harvest it in time, we measure the hardness of the pear. This is our first year of pear growing, and it has been one of my new favorite experiences as a grower. They are very fun to grow and harvest, and they make for a pleasant sensory experience – from their shape and color to their taste and texture.

s: How does soil and crop management affect the taste of the fruit you grow?

a: This is a great question! I think one of our biggest advantages is that we can wait a little longer than commercial harvesting and try to get sweeter, more delicious pears for our customers. Of course, we approach pear cultivation with the same stewardship values ​​as the rest of our crops, which includes a focus on soil health and water conservation. We are certified organic, so we rely on non-synthetic fertilizers, green manure and manure for our nutrition. Personally, I think this is a great way to grow and produce great fruits.

Be sure to find Topp Fruits in our last two markets on Wednesdays of the season (September 28 and October 5).

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Perfect simple dessert

Baked pears are the perfect dessert or sweet breakfast for fall. It’s warm, cozy and just as cozy as your favorite chunky sweater. Visit Ela Family Farm, Topp Fruits or First Fruits Organic Family Farms in the markets or order online at to pick up. Online ordering is a great option if you do not want to carry a heavy bag of fruit in the market. Because let’s face it, you’ll want to eat these pears frequently, so you can also buy them in bulk.


4 ripe pears, halved and seeded

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/4 cup honey (buy local Bjorn’s or Lazy Bee Ranch honey at the market)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional toppings: 1 cup sparkle and honey granola


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the melted butter, honey, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Lay the pears cut up on a lined baking sheet. Grease it with the butter mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes, until pears are tender.

Serve warm, optionally topped with vanilla ice cream, granola, or chopped nuts.

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