Little Pear in the Big Apple

Anjoulina in NYC

While Epicurious Entertained NYC, Anjoulina found a little time for sightseeing in Manhattan.

Just in case it’s not obvious, Anjoulina is a Red Anjou pear – recently harvested and fresh at the grocery stores now!  Red Anjou pears are sweet and juicy, and add gorgeous color to any recipe – from salads and desserts to main courses.  Be sure to Check the Neck for Ripeness to get the best eating experience!

And speaking of Epicurious – don’t forget to enter our recipe contest!  Visit the contest site to learn all about USA Pears and submit your culinary masterpiece for a chance to win a spa getaway for two to Oregon wine country!

Epicurious Entertained

Last week, I traveled to New York City with my co-workers to represent USA Pears at the second annual Epicurious Entertains NYC event. Let me tell you, Epicurious entertained!

Cristie, Lynsey, and I had a great time sampling pears for New York foodies, chefs, and kids. Consumers were able to taste fresh Comice, Bosc, Bartlett, and Starkrimson pears—for some, it was their first time to taste the varieties fresh from the tree!

On Friday, we watched legendary chef and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey create dishes from her brand-new cookbook. She was followed up by Dorie Greenspan, who prepared her favorite recipes from her cookbook, Around My French Table.

On Saturday, we partied, danced, and snacked with kids! They sampled fresh pears, took home a ripe Bartlett in their pear packers, and decorated aprons on the roof deck. These kids loved pears!

We also huddled around the Epicurious kitchen to watch adorable Ella Knack, age 2, make gnocchi with her dad, Benjamin Knack, a Hell’s Kitchen star. She was quite the chef!

We had a great time sampling famous recipes and eating from some of New York’s best restaurants (in my humble opinion). Who doesn’t love a good slice of New York pizza?

Now, we’re excited to try YOUR recipes! If you haven’t entered our recipe contest, do it now! Visit the contest site for information on the different varieties of USA Pears, ins-pear-ation, and ripening tips. You could win a spa getaway for two to Oregon wine country!

¡Vive a lo grande con Peras USA!

Marmaduke on PerasUSA.com

If you haven’t already heard, USA Pears just launched our brand-new, redesigned Spanish language site, www.perasusa.com!  It’s the go-to destination for all of our Spanish-speaking pear lovers, including recipes, variety information, and special promotions.Marmaduke USA Pears Display

Speaking of special promotions, we’re very excited to be partnering with Fox Pictures for an awesome new contest for shoppers in Mexico.  Marmaduke is a new movie (which opens here in the U.S. on June 4) starring a loveable Great Dane that “Vive lo Grande,” which can translate to “living large” or “live life to the fullest.”

Marmaduke USA Pears FrisbeeShoppers that purchase 2 kg of USA Pears during the promotion will receive a scratch and win ticket with a chance at a number of prizes, including an iPod Touch, Nano, and Shuffle, as well as Frisbees for families to play with their own dogs at home.  Kids can also visit the grocery stores with their parents to get their picture taken with the Marmaduke and USA Pears display in the produce section!

Dishing Up Pear Excellence

regionalcontestwinnersandwinningdishes_sm1On Tuesday, the 2010 Pear Excellence regional finalists traveled to Vancouver, B.C. to prepare their pear dishes for a panel of judges and compete for the national title. Pear peelings flew and chef’s knives flashed as the five culinary students raced to demonstrate their mastery of the pear.

In the end, both the judges and the audience agreed: Stephanie Duong’s Spiced Pear Buckwheat Pancakes with Pear Caramel Sauce and Mascarpone Cream were a sweet success!

Stephanie took home the national grand prize of $5,000 and the People’s Choice Award—and her school, George Brown College, will receive $1,000. Congratulations, Stephanie!

Stephanie shares her recipe on Global TV.Representing Ontario, Stephanie competed against Kyle Mar, representing British Columbia; Cyril Roach, representing the Maritimes, Adam Cenaiko, from the Prairies region, and Norelle Donahue of Quebec.

Hungry for more? Click here to view photos of the winners, read the full press release, and check out the winning recipes.

Holiday Pear Tree, Minus the Partridge

In Colombia this year, we challenged shoppers to get creative and use USA Pears in their holiday centerpieces.  We got some really great ideas and had some laughs looking through all the entries!

With the pear season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to incorporate USA Pears into your winter and/or holiday décor!  Check out some ideas here, or get creative and come up with your own!  Email me a photo of how you use the green, red and golden USA Pears in your decorating.  Five randomly-selected pear-lovers will win a USA Pears snowglobe!

 1st place winner:

winner-tree

The runner ups: 

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And, a few honorable mentions for those that were cute and/or a little bit crazy! Because who can resist Santa-bearded pears, poker-playing pears, and lounging on the beach?

 honorable-mention

Pack a Pear!

redbartlett-energy-packa-pearIn Colorado, locals have a summer passion for climbing fourteeners, mountains taller than 14,000 feet. In fact, Colorado has more than 50 fourteeners! Over this past weekend, my husband and I thought we would be adventurous and give Mt. Elbert a shot; at 14,433 feet it is the tallest mountain in the Rockies. It was a strenuous climb that took us a total of seven and a half hours, but the summit view was well worth it!

One of the necessities of taking on any strenuous activity is fueling the body. When hiking, biking, running, or partaking in any activity for an extended period, the body needs energy from carbohydrates to keep going. Glucose, the primary energy source used by the body, is stored in the liver and muscles and circulates in the blood to continually fuel the tissues. This energy allows the muscles and organs to help you up the mountain or down the road. After a while, if immediate stores of glucose are exhausted, you may feel sluggish and have difficulty continuing. This is what exercise professionals call “hitting the wall;” it means the body has run out of easily accessible energy, and needs a quick boost to keep going.

kweller-elbert

Almost time to refuel!

Indeed, fruit is a great choice for refueling when active. Like most fruit, pears contain a healthy dose of energy – about 100 calories per medium pear. Pears contain small amounts of potassium and other electrolytes, nutrients required for muscle contraction that are lost during perspiration. As well, pears contain micronutrients that aid the body’s fuel cycle. Additionally, pears are portable and make an easy take along snack for any activity. They are compact, fresh and palate-pleasing, leave little waste to carry, and travel well.

kweller-elbert3

Wall? What wall?! 14,000 feet and climbing

Along the route to the top of Mt. Elbert, we took several breaks to rest, rehydrate, and refuel. We brought many energizing snacks, but the most refreshing were definitely the Red Bartlett pears we munched on the summit. After about four and a half hours to reach the top, parched and hungry, we relaxed, reveled in the view, and relished every bite of our succulent pears. Indeed, at that moment, nothing could have tasted better. So the next time you head out the door for some summer fun and need a quick and refreshing burst of energy, pack a pear for pep!

pear-packer-hi-res

Win a Pear Packer!

P.S.  If you’re worried about squishing your nice, ripe pear when you’re on the go, we have just the solution!  Our sturdy and reusable Pear Packer lets you pack fresh, ready to eat pears in school lunches, briefcases, backpacks and more.  They eliminate the “squish factor” that ready to eat pears can suffer when taken on the go, and are made from recyclable plastic.  The first five people to leave a comment on this post will be contacted and sent a FREE set of four Pear Packers!  What are you waiting for?  Leave us a comment!
 

Meeting the Gentlemen of Honor Society

The USA Pear family and some lucky contest winners (there’s still time for you, too – visit www.usapears.org to enter to win) got to experience the opportunity of a lifetime last week when Honor Society came to Portland to open up for the Jonas Brothers’ world tour.  Soundcheck with one of the hottest bands in the country?  Meet and greet with our favorite new group?  Both bands and an American Idol winner live in concert?  We got to enjoy all of the above.

The afternoon began with a short wait in the “VIP” line outside the Rose Garden arena in Portland.  With the necessary bracelets in place, we joined a select group of screaming girls for the Jonas Brothers soundcheck “party.”  The boys sang 3 songs and sounded great – and it was really cool to experience soundcheck – how often does anyone get that kind of opportunity?

Jonas Brothers Soundcheck Party!

Jonas Brothers Soundcheck Party!

Afterwards, we went backstage for our meet and greet with Honor Society.  The guys were as awesome and friendly as they had been the day before – they introduced themselves to each and every one of us and posed for pictures, including this one with all of the USA Pear staff that were in attendance – welcome to the USA Pear family, guys!  (Notice the USA Pear logo on the backdrop – all that was missing was the red carpet!)

Welcome to the USA Pear family!

Welcome to the USA Pear family!

Following the photo ops and Honor Society trivia came the waiting around for the show to begin.  Being a VIP is not always as glamorous as it seems!  But the show to come was well worth the wait.  And they even played the video for “Tastes Like PEARadise” on the jumbotron as we waited – I sang along at the top of my lungs!

Honor Society played an awesome set of 4 songs and totally rocked the Rose Garden – everyone was singing and dancing along, including yours truly!  The guys even gave a USA Pears shoutout to the huge crowd – watch below and meet the guys of Honor Society as they introduce themselves.

The concert continued with Jordin Sparks and the Jonas Brothers.  I had a blast, and I know I wasn’t the only one.  Don’t forget that you can still enter to win the same opportunity – you don’t want to miss it, it’s truly an evening to remember!

Honor Society, Jordin Sparks & The Jonas Brothers in concert.

Honor Society, Jordin Sparks & The Jonas Brothers in concert.

PEARing up with Honor Society

USA Pears are proud to sponsor Honor Society, an up-and-coming band that is currently touring with the Jonas Brothers and will headline their own “Full Moon Crazy” tour later this summer of 2009.

Get to know this band and their music – “Tastes Like PEARadise” is a great place to start, we’re positive that this one is going to go straight to the top of the charts.  If you missed the music video’s YouTube debut, you can check it out here.

Honor Society arrived a day early before their Portland, Oregon show, and the fans were given an awesome opportunity to come out to a local Albertsons store to see the band perform an exclusive acoustic show, go shopping with the guys for USA Pears and hang out with Michael, Jason, Alexander and Andrew (new nickname: “Anjou”).

The guys came out of their tour bus launching our USA Pear “Perry” characters into the crowd, which quickly became covered in autographs.  They played a great set that had their die-hard fans singing and dancing along, which included our favorite, “Tastes Like PEARadise.”  Albertsons’ shoppers and staff were drawn over to enjoy the somewhat impromptu concert.

Honor Society makes an entrance with flying Perrys

Honor Society makes an entrance with flying Perrys

Hearing their music and seeing them interact fans, I can tell you that this is a great group of guys with songs that make you want to dance and whose genuine love and appreciation for their fans is endearing.  Not to mention their great taste and enthusiasm for USA Pears!  Spending so much time on the road makes it difficult to find healthy options, and the guys are so excited about USA Pears.  In their own words, “They’re tasty, healthy and nutritious, grown in these United States – it’s PEAR-adise.”

Honor Society treated fans to an acoustic concert, followed by shopping for their favorite fruit: pears!

Honor Society treated fans to an acoustic concert, followed by shopping for their favorite fruit: pears!

Make sure to visit our website at www.usapears.org – you can enter to win tickets and a chance to meet the band in a city near you across the U.S. and Canada!

The gentleman of Honor Society declare their love for pears.

The gentleman of Honor Society declare their love for pears.

Tears for Pears: A Recap of Our Student Chef Competition

anjou-with-ribbon2Taste.  Texture.  Creativity.  Originality.  Appearance.  Oh and one more very important thing:  Prominent Use of Fresh USA Pears.  These were the criteria our three culinary student finalists were judged on last week as they traveled from their respective citites to Portland to vie for first place in the USA Pears Student Culinary Competition.  After receiving entries from around the country, we narrowed down the entrants to three student rockstars: 

all-three-close-ups

 

Dallas Hinesly from Texas Culinary Acadamy in Austin, Texas, who submitted “Sweet Potato and Pear Gnocchi with Grilled Pork and a Balsamic Pear Glaze”

 

Nicole Mau from South Seattle Community College in Seattle, Washington, who submitted “Red Anjou Poire Frite”

 

 

Andrea Howard from Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, who submitted “Pear Risotto & Pear Poached in Red Wine”

 

Here’s how it went down: In the morning we picked the finalists up at the hotel and took them to breakfast (at Mother’s Bistro, which was lovely by the way) where we discussed the day’s schedule, drew names to determine the order in which the contestants would present their dishes to the judges, and then broke into groups to go grocery shopping.  My assignment was to take Nicole shopping, and after quickly gathering her ingredients at the local Whole Foods we headed to Western Culinary Institute  where we met back up with the other finalists and the rest of the Pear Bureau crew.  Now the finalists had three hours to prepare their recipes to be judged at 3:30 p.m.  The students quickly went to work measuring, peeling, chopping, mixing and all of the other wonderful things culinary students do, and I went about getting in their way and taking flash photography directly in their faces.

ladies-working

To our delight, Nicole’s family and friends drove down from Seattle to cheer her on, and even donned homemade “Team Nicole” t-shirts, complete with a puff-painted pear design on the front! 

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Part of "Team Nicole" poses for a picture

When the clock struck 3:35, the students presented their recipes one-by-one to the judges.  We were lucky enough to snag three well-regarded culinary professionals to judge the event;  Kathy Hayden, Editor of Flavor and the Menu Magazine, Ericka Carlson of Edible Portland Magazine, and Chef DJ Wendeborn, Chef Instructor at Western Culinary Institute.  After filling out score sheets, providing verbal feedback to each contestant (American Idol style!), and discussing the recipes amongst themselves, a winner was announced.

Congratulations to Nicole Mau and “Team Nicole!”  Her creative recipe, “Red Anjou Poire Frite,” which utilized a Red Anjou Pear Sorbet, Red Anjou Pear Compote AND a Red Anjou Pear Sauce, impressed all three judges!  Here’s a shot of the winning recipe, and another photo of Nicole holding her awards while her grandmother weeps with joy!

winning-recipe-and-grandma

As for me, I had the good fortune of getting to taste all three dishes, and believe you me, they were out of this world.  Afterwards, we all went to a local restaurant called BEAST, which also falls directly into the “out of this world” category.  What a day!

Click here to view the winning recipe:  Red Anjou Poire Frite