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Pears are a reliable, cold-hardy fruit crop that can be grown successfully in most of Iowa.  ISU Extension recommends several pear varieties (cultivars) for Iowa: ‘Summercrisp’ (University of Minnesota introduction, large fruit, matures early August) ‘Moonglow’ (introduced by USDA, medium to large fruit, matures mid-August) ‘Bartlett’ (large fruit, matures late August, susceptible to fire blight) ‘Luscious’ (developed at South Dakota State University, medium-sized fruit, matures mid-September) ‘Patten’ (originated in Iowa, large fruit, matures mid-September) ‘Seckel’ (sometimes called Sugar Pear, small fruit, matures mid-September). ‘Moonglow’ and ‘Bartlett’ are not reliably hardy in northern Iowa.  They should be planted only in central and southern portions of the state.  All of the other aforementioned pear cultivars can be successfully grown throughout Iowa. 

Selection tips

Harvest pears when the color of the fruit changes from a deep green to a yellow green. Pears should be firm, and is ready to eat when the fruit yields to gentle pressure at the stem end.  Avoid bruised skin.  

Storage tips

Pears should be ripened indoors at a temperature of 60-70° F. The ripening process should take 7-10 days.  To hasten ripening, place pears in a tightly sealed plastic bag. To keep the pears for a longer period of time, refrigerate the unripened pears at a temperature of 30-35° F.  Pears may be stored for 1-3 months.  Remove stored unripened fruit about 1 week prior to use.


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