Last year while walking the back acreage we noticed a few old fruit trees. An apple and a pear tree entwined and still producing fruit but small and the apples misshaped. I had meant to prune and work with them this year but time and other chores occupied my days. This week we were walking again and noticed the fruit of the pear tree, small shaped pears with beautiful color and no blemishes. I took one that looked ripe. I bit the sweet fruit and my mouth was filled with a spicy, vanilla taste I never knew a pear could have. After a little research online I identified it as a Seckel pear."Around 1760, the original Seckel tree was discovered growing wild on the outskirts of Pennsylvania by Dutch Jacobs, a well-known sportsman and cattle dealer, who distributed its spicy, wee fruits to his friends, but kept its location secret for many years. Later a man named Seckel bought the land and named the tree after himself.
Of this sweet, aromatic, spicy fruit, horticulturist W. Coxe wrote in 1817, “[it is] the finest pear of this or any country.” Thomas Jefferson concurred; though he grew French pears in his fruitery at Monticello, he said of Seckel, “they exceed anything I have tasted since I left France.”
I am so thrilled these pears exists on our property and will work a bit harder next year to give this tree room to grow and be productive. Visions of pear compote, perry, and pear butter fill my thoughts for next year's harvest. For now I will just enjoy slicing and eating these delicious little gems from the farm's past.