We're on a fruit tree kick, so here's another good choice for the Rogue Valley climate- Asian Pears! Pears in general do well in the valley, as history has shown, and asian pears are an especially delicious way to add more variety to your fruit choices. They are a great selection for the home orchard because they are easy to grow and tend to be expensive at the grocery store since they don't always travel well. An Asian Pear fresh off the tree is a true treat. They seem like a cross between an apple and pear; being round and crisp like an apple, with a slight flavor of pear but more complex and sweet. They are great fresh or sliced into salads and can be cooked. They also store for at least a month in the refrigerator. They need another Asian Pear or a European Pear like 'Bartlett' for pollination. Being in pear country, we've had good pollination on our one asian pear just from neighboring pears. Asian Pears also produce fruit when young so you don't have to wait years before you can enjoy the crisp fruit. Besides the fruit, they also have ornamental value with large, white flowers in the spring and orange/red foliage in the fall. If you don't have lots of space for a fruit tree, they espalier against a fence or trellis really well. In the photo we have one trained against copper tubing- every year it just gets pruned back to spurs and growing it flat makes it very easy to pick the fruit. Full sun to at least half a day of sun is prefered and like all fruit trees, good drainage is best to keep diseases at bay. An occasional deep soak is the best way to water, allowing the roots to grow deep and letting it dry out between waterings.
The varieties we like are:
'Shinseiki' - Yellow-tannish skin, early ripening variety, ripens in late August. Sweet with a hint of spice flavor. Firm, crunchy, and juicy flesh. One of the most reliable and productive. Partially self-fertile but better with pollenizor. Good storer.
'Kikisui' - Yellow-greenish skin, fruits at young age, ripens early Sept. Crisp, juicy flesh with great flavor. Fireblight resistant. Partially self-fertile but better with pollenizor
'Chojuro' (the Rum Pear)- Dark golden skin, ripens early Sept. Juicy flesh with rich, rum-like flavor. Good keeper. Nice fall color. Partially self-fertile but better with pollenizor
'Nijiseiki' (20th Century) - Greenish-yellow and thinned skin, often found in markets, ripens mid to late Sept. Flavorful, crisp, and juicy. Good keeper. Partially self-fertile but better with pollenizor