In the Garden: Timing the perfect pear harvest

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Fall fruits are in season now, but harvesting some of them at the right time might be a bit trickier than you thought. Charlie Nardozzi shows us the trick to harvesting pears.

Sharon Meyer: It's harvest time. The best time of year of all.

Charlie Nardozzi: It's been a great season for fruits. We've picked so many strawberries and blueberries and peaches and plums and now it's pear season.

Sharon Meyer: Now it's pears and apples and all kinds of yummy things.

Charlie Nardozzi: Pears are a little bit different than those other fruits I mentioned because those fruits you want to wait until they are almost totally ripe on the tree before you harvest them. Pears you want to make sure you harvest before they are ripe.

Sharon Meyer: Really?

Charlie Nardozzi: Yes, it you leave them on the tree until they are ripe, they get all mushy and rotten inside.

Sharon Meyer: Is that why when you find them in the grocery store they tend to be kind of hard?

Charlie Nardozzi: Yes, exactly. You put them in a bowl, leave them out on the kitchen table for a few days and then they'll soften up. If you have a pear tree, one of the easiest ways to know if they are ripe is to do a simple thing. You want to lift the fruit, turn it horizontally and pull. If you give it a slight tug and it comes off, it's ready to harvest. If you are tugging and it doesn't come off, don't yank it, leave it on there for a little while longer. Now there are other fruits you can grow too. One of the ones that I really like are mulberries. Birds love mulberry trees, so that's why this tree is mostly cleaned off of its fruit. But notice that I have a little area that I covered.

Sharon Meyer: You saved some for yourself.

Charlie Nardozzi: And if you peek inside, you see all of the beautiful black mulberries in there. And just like the pears, you want to harvest them just by tugging them and they come right off. They are really sweet and delicious. The other kind of fruit that is ripening this time of year are grapes. So, with wine grapes, they do a whole test thing with brix level and sugar content. But for table grapes it's simple. You just eat 'em.

Sharon Meyer: You just eat them. And when they taste good, you take them.

Charlie Nardozzi: There are so many of them. And when they taste good, like these 'Somerset seedless variety we have here. It's a nice seedless grape, very hardy, and a good one to have.