The Orchard at
Sage Hen Farm:

Hewes Crab blossom

At Sage Hen Farm in Lodi, NY, our orchard is mostly apple trees, but we have other fruit trees as well.
are on this page. Together on one page are Peaches, Plums, and Cherries.

Skin &
Harvest & Maturity Merits & Faults

(Beurre Gifford
(chance seedling)
found 1825; introduced to North America by 1850.


medium but variable in size
classic pear shape
yellow-green with red cheek
white with tinges of yellow, crisp, granular at center with grit cells present tender, very juicy
harvest when mature in early to mid August

Merits: hardy (to zone 4); one of the few pears that can be eaten almost immediately after it is picked; moderately resistant to fire blight.

Faults: tree slow to mature; fruit does not keeps long.

Bull1891: 6-7/**; Bull1909: vg; Downing: "an early Pear of value," vg; Elliot: v; Hedrick: "one of the mst refreshing summer fruties," vg.

(thought to be Seckel open seedling)
Jenkintown, PA
before 1800
Tyson pears

small to medium
classic pear shape, but irregular

deep yellow, with crimson cheek, slightly russeted

creamy yellow, fine-grained with few or no grit cells; very sugary, very juicy
harvest when mature in mid August

Merits: hardy (to zone 4); very productive; fruit keeps well for earlier ripening variety; resistant to fire-blight.

Faults: slow to mature; tall, upright grower, so must be trained; fruits can be poorly colored.

Bull1891: 7-8/**; Bull1909: vg-b; Downing: vg-b; Elliott: best; Hedrick: "best pear of its season...were the fruits larger, would rival Bartlett for market," vg

Clapp's Favorite
(Clapp Favorite)

(chance seedling – Bartlett x Flemish Beauty?)
Dorchester, MA
before 1860


somewhat more roundish than classic pear shape
yellow with a red cheek
white, fine-grained with some grit cells present, buttery, and juicy.

harvest early August so mellowed and ready to eat by third week of August

Merits: hardy (to zone 4); tree grows well in heavy soils; tree is spreading and drooping, making picking easier and fruit more uniform in size; very productive.

Faults: fruit center softens soon after ripening; does not keeps long; very susceptible to fire blight.

Bull1891: 6-7/**; Bull1909: g; Downing: "extremely fine and valuable," vg; Elliott: vg; Hedrick: vg

(Seckel x Comice)
released 1968


medium greenish yellow with blushes of red
soft, fine-grained almost free of grit, rich, complex flavor, juicy
harvest in late August so mellowed and ready to eat first week in September

Merits: tree spreading, resistant to fire blight; excellent keeper

Faults: low yield, pollen sterile

(Orel 15 x Anjou)
released 1922
on BET
Patten pear
medium to large
classic pear shape
dark red
harvest in mid September so mellowed and ready to eat starting in late September Merits: very hardy (to zone 3); moderately heavy cropper; good pollinator

Faults: slow to bear fruit; upright grower, so must be trained; must be picked early; highly susceptible to fireblight

(Sugar Pear, Shakespear)

Philadelphia, PA
before 1760
on BET
Seckel pears

brownish yellow-green overlaid with dull red and some russetting

creamy white, intensely sweet (honeyed), spicy
harvest in mid September so mellowed and ready to eat starting first week of October

Merits: hardy (to zone 4); very productive, regular cropping; self fertile; moderately resistant to fire blight; intensely sweet & spicy;

Faults: thinning needed to help increase fruit size; fruit does not keep well.

Bull1891: 10/**; Bull1909: vg-b; Downing: "we to not hesitate to pronounce this American Pear the richest and most exquisitely flavored variety we know," Elliott: best

Vermont Beauty
(Forelle open seedling?)
Vt & NY
around 1880


medium lemon yellow with a bright red
blush & pinkish-red dots

yellow-tinged, tender, melting, fine-grained with very few grit cells; juicy
harvest in mid to late September so mellowed and ready to eat starting second week of October

Merits: very hardy (to zone 3); naturally spreading tree

Faults: susceptible to scab and fireblight.

Bull1909: vg; Hedrick: "best for satisfying the eye for bright color," vg

Note: UP Hedrick, in Pears of New York, thought it not improbable that Vermont Beauty was identical to Forelle (Trout) pear, but it has since been determined that they are not the same.

(Beurre Bosc)

circa 1800; introduced to North America in 1832


classic pear shape
dark yellow with streaks of russet
white, tender, very buttery, and juicy
harvest in late September or early October so mellowed and ready to eat starting third week of October

Merits: hardy (to zone 4); very productive; excellent keeper

Faults: susceptible to fire blight.

Bull1891: 10/**; Bull1909: vg-b; Downing: we give our unqualified praise, of the highest flavor; Elliott: best

Dana Hovey
(Dana's Hovey, Winter Seckel)

(Seckel open seedling)
Roxbury, MA
before 1855



rounder than classic pear shape

golden-yellow, russeted
yellowish, rich, sugary, tender
harvest in mid or late October so mellowed and ready to eat starting in November

Merits: moderately heavy cropper; spreading tree; adapts to a variety of soils; scab and insect resistant; highly aromatic; fruit keeps well

Faults: slow to mature; susceptible to fire blight

Bull1891: 10/**; Bull09: vg-b; Downing: "one of the highest flavored Pears that we have known," best; Elliott: best

Bull1891 = "Catalog of Fruits Recommended for Cultivation; Division I: Fruits Mainly Adapted to Northern Localities; Section 1: Apples," U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Pomology. Bulletin, 1891 [Ratings are from 1 (very poor) to 10 (best); rating after / indicates notation for District No. 2 that includes New York's Finger Lakes (NR either not reported or not recommended; * known to succeed; ** highly successful; + promising]. Revisions were made in 1897 and 1899, but no changes were made in pear ratings. Bull1909 refers to the revision of 1909 when more traditional ratings replaced the numerical system: g=good, vg=very good, and vg-b=very good to best. Downing = Andrew Jackson Downing. The Fruits and Fruit-Trees of America, 1865; Elliott = Franklin Elliott. Handbook for Fruit Growers, 1876. From his list of the best pear varieties. Hedrick = U.P. Hedrick. The Pears of New York, 1921.

GRIN = detailed descriptions of pear varieties from the collection of the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Pears are part of National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon.


This page written and maintained by John R. Henderson [jrhenderson9 @].
Last modified: August 1, 2017