Pear Excellence 2013

This year’s Pear Excellence Culinary Student Competition was another pear-fect success, with talented culinary students from across Canada showing off their flair with the pear for a panel of esteemed judges. Held in Toronto in April, the contest celebrated its sixth year. Culinary students Diego Beltran, Rebekah Roberts, Allegra Jimenez, Connie McKibbon, and Aaron Lackie faced off for the National Grand Prize, showcasing pears in dishes savory and sweet, from gluten-free chocolate chai cake to grilled flatbread. The judges chose Allegra’s “Pearfect Pearing” dish for the grand prize. The dish paired a savory cheesecake with poached Bosc pears, pear chips, and a candied beet salad for a plate the judges said was innovative, well-executed, and an exceptional blending of flavors. All the regional finalists were applauded for their creativity and execution. Their dishes truly put USA Pears on a pedestal: Continue reading

Pear Blossom Festival

This weekend marks the 59th annual Pear Blossom Festival in Medford, Oregon. Medford is one of the four growing regions of USA Pears, especially famous for its picture-perfect Comice pears. (You may know them from gift companies like Harry & David.) The Pear Blossom Festival celebrates the annual appearance of pear blossoms around the area with an arsenal of activities, including the Pear Blossom Parade, a 5k run, a street fair, and the Pear A-Fare, which features locally produced wines, fruit, chocolates, and more. The festival is a great celebration, rich with the community pride of Southern Oregon. It seems that everyone in the region is involved in this festival, from the preschool-aged Blossom King and Queen to the families volunteering behind the scenes to put on the event. Even Spock himself participated back in 1967 as Grand Marshal of the Pear Blossom Parade Continue reading

Pear Excellence

This Tuesday, the five regional finalists of our Canadian culinary student contest competed for the national grand prize – the Pear Excellence title and $5,000. The kitchen heated up as the finalists chopped, sautéed, peeled, roasted, and battered USA Pears and other ingredients to present their dishes before a panel of 8 esteemed culinary judges. The judges praised all the contestants, calling Melissa Drutz’s Pear and Potato Nests “innovative” and Amy Bonchuk’s Sauteed Amaretto Pears with Cheddar Bothwell Cookies “outside the box” and a great cheese pairing. In the end, the judges named Martha MacDonald the grand prize winner for her Savory Pear Appetizer plate, which included pear cranberry fennel coulis and pork, local blue cheese, and fried sage leaves in a roasted Green Anjou pear. Greg MacIver of LaSalle College won the People’s Choice award for his Pear Crab Continue reading

Powered by Pears

Last weekend, Ray Crittenden, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager at the Pear Bureau, participated in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k with his son, Matthew. The race, which is held in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the biggest road races in the country! Ray and Matthew not only finished the race in good time, but walked an extra three miles to and from their car, racking up NINE miles of walking on Saturday! Nice work, guys! Just goes to show what you can do when you’re powered by pears… Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn

Pears and Cheese

March seems to be the unofficial month of cheese. And as you know, pears and cheese happen to go together like peanut butter and jelly, like milk and Oreos, like…well, you get the picture. We’ve been at three events in the month of March alone, sampling fresh pears along with a variety of Oregon cheeses. The Portland Boys and Girls Club held their annual Showcase of Wine and Cheese early this month, where we sliced succulent Taylor’s Gold pears, crisp Bosc pears, and juicy Anjous. Mid-month, we traveled down to Willamette Valley Vineyards to slice up pears at their Wine, Pear & Cheese Jubilee, and last weekend, we went way down south to the famed Rogue Creamery for the Oregon Cheese Festival. People had a great time sampling pears (the state fruit!) along with a variety of crumbly, creamy, rich Continue reading

Pears in the White House

President and First Lady Obama held their third state dinner this week, hosting Hu Jintao, President of China. They pulled out all the stops—Michelle worked with event planners to schedule some of the nation’s best jazz musicians to entertain, and decorators decked out the Blue and Red Rooms with a custom motif. Most impressively, Michelle knows how to plan a seasonal, carefully sourced menu. Their first course: “D’Anjou Pear Salad with Farmstead Goat Cheese, Fennel, Black Walnuts, and White Balsamic.” I was happy the White House chose to kick things off with a pear salad, of course, and what a salad it is! Anjou (or D’Anjou) pears are in season through the spring, and they’re a great complement to any winter salad. Available in green or red, the pears are sweet, yet firm, with a hint of citrus flavor. If Continue reading

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 Continue reading

Eat Well

Last week I attended the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo with USA Pears, where nationwide dietitians come together to explore current topics in nutrition, try new products, and network. We handed out delicious pears to eager dietitians, discussing the flavors and nutritive benefits. The conference was a wonderful experience, but the final speaker, Anthony Bourdain of Travel Channel’s No Reservations, left me with food for thought. He gave an insightful look into global food culture, how food affects us as a society and as individuals. Food is a social experience for humans; people come together over food. His final words struck a chord with me, “Eat well.” I think that sometimes we dietitians lose sight of what’s really important; food isn’t just a nutrient delivery device! It has meaning and it should always be delicious. One Continue reading

Epicurious Entertained

Last week, I traveled to New York City with my co-workers to represent USA Pears at the second annual Epicurious Entertains NYC event. Let me tell you, Epicurious entertained! Cristie, Lynsey, and I had a great time sampling pears for New York foodies, chefs, and kids. Consumers were able to taste fresh Comice, Bosc, Bartlett, and Starkrimson pears—for some, it was their first time to taste the varieties fresh from the tree! On Friday, we watched legendary chef and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey create dishes from her brand-new cookbook. She was followed up by Dorie Greenspan, who prepared her favorite recipes from her cookbook, Around My French Table. On Saturday, we partied, danced, and snacked with kids! They sampled fresh pears, took home a ripe Bartlett in their pear packers, and decorated aprons on the roof deck. These kids loved Continue reading

Hood River Harvest Ride

I’ll be at the Hood River Fairgrounds bright (cross your fingers) and early on Saturday morning for the second annual Harvest Ride. I won’t be on a bike, but you should be! The Harvest Ride offers five different riding paths through the beautiful countryside surrounding Hood River. While on your ride, you can take a break at one of the many farm stands and purchase a healthy natural snack. If your eyes are bigger than your appetite, you can leave your purchased pears or apples behind and the HRHR crew will bring them back to the fairgrounds for you! Join hundreds of other bike enthusiasts for food, a great ride, and a celebration of the Columbia Valley’s bounty. Registration includes a finish-line lunch. Space is going quickly, so sign up now! Check out the site for more info: If Continue reading