Harry & David's 2015 holiday pears - just me?

I have enjoyed the H&D pears for several Christmases now, but this year’s were bad.
In terms of washing and storage, I treated them the same as in the past. The skins seemed leathery and tasted bitter. The flesh was mealy, and not very sweet. Fortunately, this time there were only six of them, because the last two were on the verge of rotting.
I didn’t hang onto the packaging, so I can’t register a complaint; besides, I realize that produce quality can vary from year to year.

I’m just wondering if other folks were similarly disappointed. I know that 2015 brought odd weather to the Pacific Northwest. For most of the fall, here in the Boston area, Bartlett pears were priced low, usually 99 cents/#, and they were very good. I assume that wherever they were grown, it was a bumper crop. H&D pears are Comice - a variety whose supermarket version I have not tried.

My Aunt sends me a box every year and they seemed the same to me. They’re odd because they come in hard and ripen 2-3 days later, but don’t last long after they hit their peak ripeness so I feel like I have to et them all in a day or two before they go bad. Mine were super juicy and sweet.

I USED to think they arrive unripe. One time it was a larger amount so the first day I decided to use two for Pepin’s braised caramelized pears. To my surprise, hard as they were, they were very juicy and sweet. You can start eating them as soon as you get them.

It’s been our experience for last year & this year that the H&D pears have been very small, about 1/2 the size of previous years. They also were nowhere near as flavorful & succulent. I’ve charged it off to our continuing drought… I’m hoping they will return to their former glory after we’ve had some decent rains… I’ve wondered if there had been some big change in the company and/or their growers…

H&D was sold to 1-800-Flowers in late 2014, so that might explain things.

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Interesting info Ferny, thanks. I’m going to try emailing the article’s author to see if there’s any info out there about what might account for the decline in quality…

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Good to know. My December 2014s were big and juicy. There was a social media deal on them almost a year ago so I bought some then . They too were terrific but those must have both been the 2014 crop.

I agree that this year the pears are much smaller and less flavorful. In the past years they were a juicy mess to eat by hand but not so this year. Sorry to hear the company was purchased, that never bodes well imho. I also order honeybell oranges and that company was purchased by H&D. Bigger is not better!

I received some as a gift and they were fairly ripe when I got them. I left them in the fridge for a week and then took them to a potluck function, so I didn’t eat them myself, but they were EXTREMELY soft by then and got squished in transit. I saw a couple of people eating them over a trash can because of the juice!

Harry & David’s response to your concerns:

Thanks for letting me know - I wouldn’t have seen their tweet.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold