GROWING YOUR OWN
Pears are easy to grow and long living, and they particularly like a rich soil and a sunny aspect. Those growing on their own roots can grow into large trees, so you will need to source a pear that has been grafted on to a dwarfing root stock such as Quince A (which will restrict your tree to around 3–4m in height) or Quince C (2.4–3m). Pears on Quince C can be trained into espaliers or cordons for growing against a wall. Yield will always be better if you have two trees from the same pollination group (this means that they flower at the same time and so can pollinate each other).
Three to try:
Conference An old and dependable variety and the best for the north or a shadier spot. It is an autumn pear that is brilliant raw or cooked. Available from otterfarm.co.uk.
Williams Bon Chrétien An early season pear with beautiful buttery textured flesh and pale yellow skin. A dual purpose cooking and eating pear. Available from victoriananursery.co.uk.
Winter Nelis Not the most beautiful of pears but this pear for cooking and eating makes up for it with its rich flavour. Will keep well into winter. Available from orangepippintrees.co.uk. »
Good old Conference pears are an autumn crop to enjoy raw or cooked, sweet or savoury