Pear tree

In Iceland, picking berries in the fall is a regular tradition. Everyone heads up to the headlands and gathers basketfulls of the wild northern blue berries and moss berries (black, small, sour little guys) that spring up there every summer. Then everyone puts them in everything they can think of, or just eats the berries whole by the handful for several weeks. It is a lovely tradition.

California's natural chaparral does not offer much in the way of wild fruit. Some cacti do bear fruit occasionally (though it is dangerous work to get them), and Native Americans knew how to make a paste out of the acorns that come from the California Oak, but it is toxic without proper preparation.

But since the late 1800s, farmers have found a way to plant all sorts of non-indigenous species in California, and they have flourished. It turns out the first farmers who came out to Moraga, in the hills behind Berkeley, planted pear trees and walnut trees. Those trees, now over 150 years old, are still alive, and still bearing fruit, even though the farmers who tended to them are long gone. So the town of Moraga has started a Pear Festival every fall. When I read about this, I started looking around to see if I could spot any pear trees growing around Moraga. Turns out there is one beside the parking lot to this apartment building. I went to take a look, and indeed the pears were falling off the branches, very ripe, even though they are small. I picked some pears, let them sit out on the counter for a few days, and Palmer and I ate them this morning for breakfast. They were the best pears I have ever eaten in my life.

Proving the adage that a crooked branch yields the best fruit. 


Lissy said…
By the way, that is not a known adage. I just made it up.
Anonymous said…
Lovely, I wouldn't mind having a few pear trees around! (even better cherry trees! I dream of dark red cherries!) Krækiber are crowberries though, not moss berries :)
Lissy said…
Thanks Hildigunnur! I was wondering what the proper English translation was!

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