Perry Pears and Maple Sugaring Questions

Asked August 24, 2019, 11:45 AM EDT

Those two do not ordinarily go together in the same sentence but we are moving to Vermont permanently in the next 3-4 years and are looking for agricultural opportunities.

I have come up with two ideas that I think are mutually compatible - growing Perry Pears for Perry making, or selling to Perry makers, and maple sugaring. Perry pears, for reasons explained below, and maple sugaring so I can try to produce some revenue off the land even as the trees mature.

Perry is the alcoholic drink that is what cider is to apples. There is 'perry' to be found around, but that is almost exclusively really pear cider which is a cider to which dessert pears have been added.

The true Perry, which is a drink that dates back to the early middle ages and has been drunk throughout that time in Normandy and in parts of Britain, is making a come back overseas. The dearth of true Perry Pears (which are basically inedible in raw fashion) has limited production and most people do not know it exists, or when hearing of it, what it is. Once explained, though, most are intrigued.

In Britain in the 1960s and 1970s when Perry fell out of fashion, 95% of the Perry pear orchards were torn up in favor of more immediately valuable commodities and housing. That is a problem because Perry pears take a long time to ripen.

My idea on the perry pear growing is to get ahead of what I suspect is a curve. There is one perry maker in Vermont who is making perry out of perry pears and dessert pears. As I understand it, he cannot source enough perry pears.

It takes the trees 7 years+ before they fruit and for most people that is a problem. For me this is an opportunity as we are not going to be able to move permanently into the area for four years. My plan is to select property this year and close in the spring, prepare the property in 2020 and plant in 2021. I am reaching out to people who might be able to provide me support and expertise and suggestions on who to reach out to hire/speak with about this project.

Rutland County Vermont

1 Response

You probably want to talk to the fruit specialist at UVM. Contact info is:

Terence Bradshaw
Research Assistant Professor
Tree Fruit and Viticulture Specialist

Telephone: 802-922-2591