Early Harvest Pear  EARLY HARVEST PEAR

 Also known as the Early Jennet Pear, was a pear of great antiquity, first cultivated in Franced as the Joannet. Its primary commendation was a ripening date around St. John’s Day (June 24), hence its name. The fruit was small—about an inch and ½ long,, pyriform, with a light green to yellowish skin; sometimes the sun exposed portions sport a red blush. It has long been considered in the second rank of quality among pears, too prone to mealiness in texture, and cultivated primarily for reason of its extreme earliness of maturation. To compensate for the defects of quality, American fruit brokers sometimes rebranded the pear as the “Early Sugar Pear.” (Franklin Elliott, The Western Fruit Book (1908), 381). Andrew Jackson Downing in his classic Fruits and Fruit Trees of America (1856) characterized the taste thusly: “Flesh white, sugary, delicate and juicy at first, but soon becomes mealy; seeds very point” (p. 331). The Tyson Pear, a variety discovered in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, in 1794, was also called the Early Sugar Pear, but ripened a full month after the Early Harvest Pear. The Early Harvest was among nurserymen’s stocks in the colonial period and is not now commercially available in the United States.

 Image: "U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705" Deborah G. Passmore, 1906.