by Jeanne

Woowoo It is, in my view, the duty of an to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption. Edward Bunyard, ‘The Anatomy of Dessert’

My paternal grandfather is in his mid-90s. While at this age he unequivocally states every year that all he needs for Christmas is his health, family, grandkids, and great grandkids it seems to me that everyone deserves something a bit special.

This year I am gifting him with a box of the ultimate in pear pear-adise–Royal Riviera Pears from Harry &; David. This pear is one of the finer delights in life—it’s also the signature fruit from the 80-year-old gourmet food and gift basket company based in Oregon. The catalog states that they are "so big and juicy, you eat them with a spoon. Today the cataloger ships over 10,000 tons of pears from their network of family farms.

The company began in the middle of the Great Depression in an effort to save the family orchard. The brothers packaged the pears into gift boxes, got into the truck and drove south to the City by the bay to sell to business leaders. The first catalog was mailed in 1934 and shortly after they began the first ‘fruit of the month’ subscription program. Now, according to Catalog Age roughly 42 million catalogs a year are mailed and each order averages $130 due to a focus on business gifts and fruit-of-the-month programs; Today the company is forging ahead in using sustainable agriculture in its Oregon orchards, from water conservation to composting to natural pest control.

Image: Harry & David; Royal Riviera Pears