Keiffer Pears - Why such a poor description?
We had a keiffer pear tree in our yard which had been at least 40 years old. When other pear trees were ripe, the Keiffer pear would still be green and begin to fall on the ground. It was so hard that no animal nor insect could penetrate. However if it stayed on the ground for several weeks, it became yellow and soft. When we purchased our home, we were told it was a winter pear, to be wrapped up in newspaper and begin to be eaten in late December or better yet, kept in the basement. Old settlers family told us they would keep all winter long in cool but non-freezing areas. They were always ready for consumption by late February. We found them delicious and could be cooked or eaten raw. Unfortunately we cut our Duchess apple and Keiffer trees down and had a swimming pool built. I would really appreciate purchasing a Keiffer tree now as squirrels are all around, even though we are in downtown. There happen to be 3 black walnut trees in our neighborhood so we will always have the squirrels around. Would the average nursery have Keiffer pears for sale?
Will County Illinois
Thanks for writing to eXtension. Your question appears to have been routed around to a few people before coming to me. Unfortunately, since I am located in southern Indiana, I have no idea what the nurseries in your area would carry. My advice would be to call around to local nurseries to see what they plan on carrying this spring (don't bother calling the big box stores or national chains, they won't be able to carry specialized fruit trees).
According to the Arbor Day Foundation (http://www2.arborday.org/treeguide/treeDetail.cfm?ID=83 ), this is considered an oriental pear. It appears to be an interspecies hybrid.
I did a quick Google search for Keiffer pear, and found several mail-order nurseries that carry it, including the Arbor Day foundation and Stark Brothers. This may be the best way to obtain one.