Feisty New Pear
By Rosalie Marion
September 26, 2002
A distinct blend of sugars, acids
and other flavor compounds give a rich, aromatic taste to a new pear variety
released by the Agricultural Research
The new yellow and light-golden pear, named "Blake's Pride," was
developed by horticulturist Richard Bell with the
ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station
in Kearneysville, W.Va.
The beauty of this pear isn't just skin deep. The fruit is endowed not only
with excellent eating quality, but also with resistance to fire blight, a
devastating pear disease. Caused by a bacterium native to North America, fire
blight greatly limits pear production in the eastern and midwestern United
According to Bell, the U.S. pear industry relies heavily on just four major
pear varieties, leaving much room, and demand, for new and improved
alternatives. "Blake's Pride" now provides commercial pear growers
and homeowners a new selection of disease-resistant pear.
Budwood of "Blake's Pride" is available free to nurseries on
request by contacting Dr. Bell through the lab's web site at:
Since the variety has been certified as virus-free, Bell expects a growing
demand from orchardists and homeowners beginning next year.
Pears mature and are harvested from early August through early October, with
varieties farther south ripening earliest. "Blake's Pride" ripens 10
to 14 days after the widely grown "Bartlett" variety. California,
Oregon and Washington state together produce most of the pears harvested in the
The new variety is the second fire-blight-resistant pear developed by Bell,
who is now planning additional new releases in the near future. ARS is the
chief scientific research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.