We took Owen and Paula out to Billy Allen’s farm so they could see his set-up and because they are interested in what he’s doing with Velvet Beans, hailed as “green manure” in Central America. None of us were disappointed as we walked along, viewing scenes of the various projects Billy is pulling off: crop production, chickens, ducks, goats, cane, solar hot water, tuning up mechanical engines that run 40 or more miles to the gallon of diesel, and so much more.
When we left I had another 20 lbs of pears in the rucksack, and I promised Billy I wouldn’t let them go to waste.
I discovered from Billy that of his four or five pear trees, he has varieties of Baldwin, Kieffer, and Pineapple pears. The Kieffer pear, I found out from the Internet, is a cross between the Asian pear and the European pear, and was cultivated in Pennsylvania in the 1700′s or 1800′s. These are sometimes referred to as Sand Pears here in Florida. These varieties are hardy against fireblight, and are some of the few varieties that grow well in the south. The Pineapple pears are softer, I think, and tastier fresh than the hard but hardy Baldwins, which the lore says are better-tasting when cooked and bottled. Even if you don’t like them a lot, look at what great nutrition they provide! Nature’s fast food; pick and eat, and you will survive another day and wonder how you got so fortunate!