Spotted: Pears at My House

I recently moved into a new place with plenty of space for me to unpack a bunch of boxed-up décor items that I have accumulated over the last few years. Among these treasures are, of course, various pears in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

pears on book shelf

Since I started working at the Pear Bureau three years ago, many gifts that I have received for birthdays and Christmas – and sometimes even “just because” – have been pear-related: lotions, candles, dish towels, figurines, etc.  While I am a self-proclaimed pear nerd, and have been known to exclaim how beautiful a pear is before slicing it up for a snack, I am picky about my pear décor.  The items may be vintage or modern, but not kitschy.  My goal is subtlety – I have, in fact, been called the “pear lady,” but have no desire to become the “crazy pear lady.”

vintage pear box

My favorite pear pieces are these kitchen canisters that I bought at Target – a special, limited-time line by the talented designer Orla Kiely.  They’re no longer available in stores, but if you’ve fallen in love with them as much as I did, I have spotted them from time to time on eBay.

orla kiely pear cannisters

How have you incorporated pears into your home – aside from the fruit bowl in your kitchen?

Go Packers!

It’s almost game time, and Pear Bureau Northwest is rooting for the Green Bay Packers. Lucky for us (or should I say them?) their colors just so happen to match the bright hues of USA Pears – particularly the Green Anjou and the (ripe) Bartlett.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party on Sunday, we’ll make it easy to score big with your guests. Here’s how you can pump up the excitement with pears:

• Fill baskets, trays, or a large glass vase with green and yellow USA Pears—the colorful centerpiece can double as a healthy snack!
• Place USA Pears in quesadillas—it’s the perfect Cheesehead tribute!
• Serve this Pear Mango Salsa along with your chips and dips. The fruity mixture is festive and delicious!

Visit our website for our complete green and yellow game day menu. Go Pack!

Go Ducks!

It’s game day! Tonight, the University of Oregon Ducks face off against the Auburn University Tigers for the BCS Championship title. Our office is excited for the game, especially our president, Kevin—he’s a U of O alum and a proud Ducks fan.

So when he realized that USA Pears naturally come in Ducks colors, we decided to get creative with our game day celebration! Here’s what we dished up:

Yes, it is as delicious as it looks. Since you’ve seen the final product, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek behind the scenes of a photo shoot.

Secret #1: All the food is real. We often eat it after the shoot has ended.

Secret #2: That table isn’t exactly a table… The main trick to making a shoot look realistic and appetizing is the lighting, so re-creating the table gives the photographer more room to play with the lighting, and the food stylist has different angles from which she can make sure the guacamole looks chunky enough and the napkins can be read.

Secret #3: See the ice in that bucket of beer? Yeah…it’s not ice. It’s giant bubble wrap! Convincing, huh?

Whether you’re cheering on the Ducks tonight or looking forward to your Super Bowl spread, check out our menu for simple, healthy game day eats!

Go Ducks!

Get Crafty: Plain Pears

Man, was I bummed last night. I had a plan to make some Gilded Pears (like these lovelies) for this blog post. I had some cute little Seckel pears in my refrigerator. I had time to get everything laid out in my kitchen. But I had no gold leaf, nor could I find any at my nearby craft stores.

I was stumped about what I would write about today. I even ate one of the Seckels in my despair, and gave another to my sister, sliced up in a bowl and dusted with cinnamon.

It didn’t strike me until late morning today: I didn’t need to add anything to the pears to make them a craft project. They’re beautiful just as they are! Really, pears are an elegant fruit, whether they’re long necked and curved or round and bright. My own mother recently decorated a brunch table with a row of Bosc and Anjou pears.

Take a second look at the bowl of pears above, or the lineup below, for some simple examples of how plain pears can be a natural, edible décor item. Just buy them, arrange, and voilà!

Get Crafty: Bedazzled Pears

OK, the holiday season is upon us! Even though I’m not ready for it, my co-workers are playing Christmas music and we’re talking turkey over our morning coffee. That, along with these short, dark days, is urging me to settle in for a long winter. Here in Portland, it’s wet, gray, and getting colder every day. I figured the easiest way to bring a little cheer to my days is to get crafty! It’s especially fun because I’m not a crafter at heart. I have my artistic interests, but they lean more toward reading and writing than painting and stitching.

But I knew my first project when I saw this in the November issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray:

Bedazzled pears?! Yes! Those “inexpensive” rhinestones weren’t quite so inexpensive at my local grocery store, so I picked up just a few packets of (adhesive) rhinestones and added a bottle of gold puff paint.

Here are the results:


Wouldn’t these be adorable on a Thanksgiving table, or even at a New Year’s Eve party? The idea is versatile, simple, and festive. I’ll toast to that! Oh, and watch this space for upcoming editions of Get Crafty (with USA Pears)!

Pear Ghosts

Scary, I know…

To get into the spooky spirit, I decided to create some pear ghosts for Halloween. They were really simple to make, and they would be adorable as party centerpieces. They’d also make a sweet treat for your trick-or-treaters!

To make my Bosc pears ghostly, I whipped up some vanilla frosting. I learned how to make simple homemade frosting from my mom – put powdered sugar in a bowl with half a stick of softened butter, add some milk and vanilla extract, and whip it. I omitted the vanilla this time – I wanted bright white ghosts. You could also use candy coating or maybe white chocolate for an extra-decadent ghost.

Once the frosting was smooth, I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt it a bit. I stuck a wooden skewer into each pear (near the stem) and then dunked each pear into the bowl of frosting. I used a spatula to cover the pear with frosting and even out the coating.

Next, I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave and put the smooth, melted mixture into a small Zip-loc bag. I closed the bag and cut the tip off of one bottom corner. I used the baggie to make my ghosts’ eyes and mouths. Can you tell I started with the guy on the right and finished on the left? The first pear’s scream is more of a goatee. Oops.

I set them out to dry on a paper bag, and voila! Spooky yet sweet Halloween décor.

Boo.

Etsy Roundup!

I’m not artsy. I don’t paint, sew, or make cute gifts for friends. So when I stumbled onto Etsy.com, I was an instant fan. And now that I’m at the Pear Bureau, a new world of pears has opened up to me – largely thanks to Etsy!

Pear swag on Etsy is cute – we’re not talking chintzy ceramic pears or gaudy kitchen towels. I’m starting a wish list now! Here are some of my most recent favorites:

Reusable Sandwich Bag (by Zummi): This perky, punchy sandwich bag is not only eco-friendly, it’s cute! I’d be happy showing this bag off in the office lunchroom or filling it with makeup for a weekend trip.

Pear Coasters (by Crochele): These cozy coasters would look great on my coffee table or next to my keyboard. They’re locally made right here in Portland, OR, and they can be purchased in sets of 4, 5 or 6!

Anjou Milk Soap (by bittertundra): I can already imagine the scent of this delicate soap. If it’s anything like an Anjou pear, it’s gotta be good. I’d love to give this soap as a housewarming gift or a thank you to friends who host me when I visit.

That’s just a sampling of the fun, unique things to be found on Etsy. Happy shopping!

Print with Pears

Ahhh, summer. The sun is shining, the days are long, and the new school year is weeks away… and your kids are dying of boredom.

Save them with this fun craft courtesy of Family Fun. They say it’s great for Christmas gifts—we say it’s great for everything! Pears are almost always in season, and with this do-it-yourself wrapping paper, you can enjoy them even when they’re not. (Which will be soon, so get busy!)

Pick up some Anjou pears at your local grocery store—their egg-shape outline is quintessentially pear. And when winter does roll around, you can use little Seckel pears or long-necked Bosc to give your wrappings variety.

Kids can use the rainbow of pear colors for inspiration, too. They can re-create the brilliant red of a Starkrimson, paint the pretty blush of Comice pears, or use metallic colors for a twist on the russeted Bosc.

And just think, when summer ends, grocery stores everywhere will be filled with fresh USA Pears—something worth waiting for!

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: 

runners-up

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