Doyenne d'Ete Pear DOYENNE D’ETE PEAR

 Just as Clapp’s Favorite became a market pear because of its combination of fine eating quality and early ripening, so did the Doyenne D’Ete Pear, an import from France that excited orchardists in the antebellum period. Charles Mason Hovey secured the first trees for America in 1843 and tasted the first fruit two years later. Though modest in size, being about two inches long and two inches in diameter, the yellowish flesh is buttery and melting. The texture can be a touch granular. Like all heirloom summer pears, it must be harvested before the skin turns from green to yellow; that is, before entirely ripening. Elsewise it will suffer quick rotting. The tree is an abundant bearer. It remais generally availabe from European nurseries among the heirloom selections. Less so in the United States.

Hovey secured his stock from Nantes in France, the center of the culture for this variety, but he noted that it had been grown in Paris as early as 1830, introduced by M. Noisette. Once conveyed to America, it spread from New York southward. It was grown by Silver Leaf Nursery in Boone’s Path, Virginia, A. F. Mosby’s Richmond Commercial Nursery, Kentucky Nursery in Louisville, and Fruitlands Nursery of Augusta, Georgia.

Image: Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705, Deborah Passmore, 1896.

David S. Shields