The Time is Ripe for Pears: Portland

Last week, we brought The Time is Ripe for Pears tour to our hometown, Portland! On Thursday, we were treated to an amazing luncheon at Castagna, where the food looked more like art. Take the starter, for example. We were presented with this of-the-earth ceramic bowl (which I secretly wanted to smuggle home in my purse – after licking it clean, of course).

The bowl contained drops of tangy yogurt, cubed Comice pear, and wisps of fennel. I was excited with this unusual starter, but it wasn’t done yet! Our server placed a box in the center of our table that contained little packets. Pear packets. No joke – they were made of dehydrated pear and filled with granola, and we were told to crumble them over our  yogurt. Gladly!

The meal continued on in a similarly jaw-dropping fashion. One of my favorite courses was this salad, for which you’ll see the recipe here very soon! I would encase this in glass and hang it on the wall of my cube.

Here’s a video of wizard chef Justin Woodward explaining how pears fit into his molecular, seasonal approach to delighting his customers:

The next day, we headed out to our local New Seasons Market, which we love for its friendly staff and amazing range and quality of goods, including, of course, pears. Right now, in the thick of pear season, they had eight varieties for sale!

Lunchtime shoppers loved the pears (and the impromptu ripening education):

We’re in Seattle this week for our last tour stop. If you’re near, join us this Friday between 4 and 6 p.m. at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Pike Place Market – we’ll be sampling three sweet and juicy varieties of USA Pears with expert-selected cheese pairings!

And don’t forget to enter our sweepstakes now! There’s just one week left in the sweeps, and YOU could win fresh pears or a trip for two to enjoy the culinary delights of one of these eight great cities! Click here to join!

The Time is Ripe for Pears: Chicago

From Philadelphia, we headed west to the chilly city of Chicago on our sixth stop in The Time is Ripe for Pears Tour. The city’s trademark wind was in full force, but so was the enthusiasm of local pear fans!

On our first night in Chicago, I was treated to a delicious local delicacy: a pizza pot pie. Yep, that’s right; it’s all the tasty toppings of a pizza—plum tomatoes, peppers, garlic, whole mushrooms, sausage—wrapped up inside a doughy bundle and set inside a dish to bake. When it’s finished, they bring it to your table inside the dish and gently coax it out onto your plate. It’s so good! If you’re ever in the Windy City, check it out: Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. And order the Mediterranean Bread!

On Thursday, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the impressively sleek Blackbird Restaurant. Chef David Posey (below) treated us to a meal just as impressive. My favorite course was the Seared Bass with Clams, Glazed Parsnips, and Pears (also below). Luckily for you, I get to share the recipe here!

That evening, we bundled up to head to Pastoral Artisan Cheese in the Loop, where we sampled Bosc, Anjou, and Starkrimson pears along with some complementary cheese choices, courtesy of our friends at Pastoral. The pairings were excellent, but don’t take my word for it! Check out this video to see what these tasters had to say. And note: I’m not the only one who uses, er, cheesy pear puns!

 

They also drew this darling little sign to spread the word. Curious to learn more about which cheeses you should pair with pears? Watch this short video to see what we sampled in Chicago, and click here for more pairing inspearation.

All in all, we had a great trip to Chicago — and we’re very excited for our last two stops here in the Pacific Northwest! If you’re in the area, make sure you visit us! We’ll be here in Portland on Friday and sampling at Beecher’s Cheese in Seattle the following week. More info here.

The Time is Ripe for Pears: Philadelphia

Last week, we visited the City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia! (Where I learned that “philadelphia” literally means “brotherly love” in Greek. Duh.) We saw the Liberty Bell, the famous LOVE sign, and lots of beautiful fall colors.

For our first stop, we ventured across the river to neighboring Cherry Hill, New Jersey to share ripe pears with eager shoppers at the local Wegmans grocery store. What a gorgeous place! I’m envious there aren’t any Wegmans stores in my area—I’d be shopping there now. Lots of busy moms—and their savvy kids—were out on this Monday morning. Watch our video to see what they thought of USA Pears!

After that stop, we swung by John’s Roast Pork to sample their famous (and deservedly so) cheesesteaks, answering lots of questions about our T-shirts along the way. Again, we commented that the sandwiches would have been delicious with some sliced pears inside (especially if they were sauteed), but we didn’t have time to pick up a pear before we chowed down.

On Tuesday, we were treated to a delicious pear lunch created by Chef David Katz of Meme Restaurant. We devoured it all, from a pear-fectly purple salad of beets, wine-poached pears, and red cabbage to a delicious olive oil cake topped with pear ice cream. Watch this clip to see behind-the-scenes at Meme!

We’ll be sharing Chef Katz’s delicious flatbread recipe soon! And remember, only four weeks remain in The Time is Ripe for Pears sweepstakes! Don’t forget to enter if you haven’t already – and share the pear love with friends and family! Click here for more info.

The Time is Ripe for Pears: Miami

On our all-too-short tour stop in sunny Miami, we enjoyed friendly people, lots of great food, and of course, the sunshine! We dropped in at the Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables to sample ripe Bartlett, Starkrimson, and Bosc pears. Watch this fun video to see what our fans had to say about our pears:

In the evening, we went to Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in the design district for a decadent spread: four courses of pear desserts! We were on a sugar high for hours. And it wasn’t an ordinary sugar kick – we were treated to dishes by renowned pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith, a fellow pear fanatic. Watch this video to learn how she uses pears in her dishes:

 

Hedy also shared the recipe for her Pear Panini with Membrillo and Manchego.

Inspired by Spain, this lavish dessert had the perfect balance of salty and sweet, with fleur de sel sprinkled over the fruity quince spread and sliced pears. Visit the Michael’s Genuine blog to get the recipe.

 

Before leaving Miami, I took a quick walk on the beach to soak up some sun. Here’s the gorgeous view from my hotel room!

Don’t forget to enter our Facebook sweepstakes—one lucky winner could be walking the same beach and enjoying delicious pear delicacies, too!

We’re halfway through our tour already, but we still have four great cities to visit. If you live in or near Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, or Portland, join us at an upcoming event to taste ripe pears and enter to win dinner for two!

The Time is Ripe for Pears: Atlanta

We headed down South last week to visit Atlanta, home of the CNN Center, the world’s largest aquarium (!), and TONS of streets named “Peachtree.” Unfortunately, we didn’t find a single Peartree Street, but we met lots of welcoming and friendly pear fans!

Watch this video to see how much Atlanta Kroger shoppers loved our pear-fectly ripe Bartlett, Starkrimson, and Bosc pears!

We also enjoyed a delicious meal at Ecco Restaurant, where Chef Craig Richards told us what he finds most interesting about pears. You’ll have to watch this clip to find out!

Chef Richards also shared his recipe for Pear and Buffalo Mozzarella Ravioli. Click here to see the entire recipe—believe me, you won’t want to overlook this! (Thanks to Broderick of Savory Exposure for the ravioli photo!)

To top off an excellent tour stop, we had lunch at Empire State South, where we started it off right with a few “put-ups”—Classic Tomato Chow Chow and this delicious Roasted Pear Butter. Spread on toasted sourdough, these preserves were sublime! The rest of the meal, from vanilla bean lemonade to a homemade chocolate chip cookie, were amazing as well. If you’re in the area, don’t miss this restaurant!

Visit our YouTube page to see videos from the rest of our trip, including another video of Chef Richards telling us why he loves pears.

Check us out on Facebook to see the latest from the road – and if you haven’t joined our sweepstakes yet, don’t miss out!

Follow us on Twitter and keep an eye out for the #ripepears hashtag, where you’ll see how we’re spreading the good pear word!

Next stop: Miami!

The Time is Ripe for Pears: New York

Well, we turned the Big Apple into the Big Pear for a few days! We had a great visit to New York City – we ate delicious food, shared ins-pear-ation with shoppers, and visited some of Manhattan’s most famous neighborhoods.

At PUBLIC Restaurant, Chef Brad Farmerie shared the pear love – watch this video to hear what he thinks about pears!

(Visit our YouTube page for another fun outtake with Chef Brad.)

We also served up fresh pears at the Whole Foods Market in Tribeca, where shoppers raved about the sweet and juicy Bartletts.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by Ground Zero, home to a new memorial – and one very hardy pear tree! Unfortunately, tickets were sold out for the day, but we snapped a photo of the new buildings in progress.

 

Chef Brad also shared his recipe for Maple Poached Pears. He says, “These spicy poached pears have become a staple on PUBLIC’s menu year after year during pear season and beyond, as it is also a great way to preserve pears after the season has passed. The bright beautiful red color and the sweet/sour/spicy combination marry well with the pear’s texture and flavor to enhance a wide variety of dishes—used in salads with blue cheese and toasted nuts or with seared foie gras and salty bacon. I think our current incarnation, Black Pudding Waffles with Spicy Poached Pears and Whipped Foie Gras Butter, is potentially the most decadently delicious breakfast item I have ever tasted. Feel free to stop by the restaurant to find out!”

Ingredients
2 ½ cinnamon sticks
2 ½ star anise
¼ of a red chili pepper
2 bottles affordable red wine
½ lemongrass stem, lightly crushed with the back of the knife
2 cups light brown sugar
½ thumb fresh ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
½ cup sugar
5 Anjou USA Pears, peeled

Directions
In a large pot combine all of the ingredients except the pears and bring to a boil. This will cook off the alcohol and give the pears a more nuanced flavor.

Add the pears and bring the ingredients back to boiling. Make a cartouche by using parchment paper cut to the size of your sauce pan and cover the pears. Lower the heat and cook until a knife slides in and out of the pear easily (time varies based on ripeness of the pears and cooking temperature).

Take the pot off the heat and cool the pears in the liquid. Refrigerate the pears in the liquid until you are ready to use.

Stay tuned for more – we’re headed to Atlanta later this week! And don’t forget to join our sweepstakes on Facebook, where you could win a trip for two to one of eight U.S. cities – or a box of fresh pears to your doorstep!

The Time is Ripe for Pears: Boston!

Hello from Boston!

We’re having a great time exploring the city and sharing pear recipes and ripening info (not to mention delicious pears!) with fellow pear fans on The Time is Ripe for Pears Tour. Here’s a quick glance at what we’ve seen so far:

First stop: the Chelsea Market Basket, where we sampled perfectly ripe Starkrimson pears. They were a hit with shoppers of all ages!

Next, we went to Faneuil Hall, where we lunched on lobster rolls (and remarked that they would have been better with pears).

We also ventured out to Edward Everett Square in South Boston to snap a photo with this giant pear statue! Perry, our Anjou Pear, was quite happy to find a relative clear across the country.

Check out this video to see what shoppers thought of our sweet and juicy Starkrimson pears!

We also visited Rialto Restaurant and Bar, where we were treated to a delicious pear dish courtesy of Chef Jody Adams. This autumn salad will be featured on Rialto’s menu (although with apples), but you can re-create it in your kitchen, too!

Autumn Concorde Pear Salad with Crinkle Cress, Baylee Hazen Blue, Walnuts and Moscato Dressing

Ingredients
Moscato Vinaigrette
1 cup moscato vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
3 cups olive oil
Salt and pepper
Salad
4 Concorde USA Pears
1 small celery root, peeled
2 each endive
1 cup fennel
2 cups crinkle cress
⅓ cup Baylee Hazen blue cheese
⅓ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup moscato vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
For vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and shallot. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For salad: Shave the pears, celery root and fennel on a mandoline. Slice the endive in half and cut each half in a quarter inch thick slices on bias. Crumble the blue cheese with your hands. Mix all with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook, where you can enter our sweepstakes to win fresh pears or a trip for two to one of our eight tour stops!