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holiday_mag_2017

We are a weekly newspaper serving the communities of Exeter, Lindsay, and Woodlake California.

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fresh? O ne of the great joys of the holiday season is the food that accompanies nearly every jolly get together. And there is no better pairing of food and winter festivity than pears… or at least there shouldn't be. e fact is that the pear's unique shape, taste and texture should place it on a pedestal among holiday foods because for centuries it was among the most important fruits for winter cooking and eating. Traditionally, this time of year, late fall and early winter, has been problematic for societies. Before modern day agricultural practices and technology, it was difficult to store food for winter for human, and more importantly, livestock consumption. Most fruit would spoil in the winter or was unable to grow in late fall for winter harvest. Unlike most fruit, pears are picked unripe and then allowed to ripen off the tree. eir versatility and shelf life made pears a valuable commodity along ancient trade routes. e Greek philosopher Hom- er called pears a "gift of the gods." Valued for their marvelous flavor and medicinal favor, pears coupled palpitations with palatability for an aphrodisiacal property worthy of being consecrated to Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love for both Greeks and Romans. e smooth contours of the fruit served as a muse for Renaissance masters looking to portray na- ture and health in still-lifes that have lived on for cen- turies. e pear's importance to this season reached its pinnacle in the 18th Century's "e Twelve Days of Christmas," where it was tops among true love tid- ings and repeated twelve times in the most enduring Christmas carol. Unfortunately the pear remains somewhat mis- understood. It is as delicious as its cousin the apple, but is often overshadowed by nearly every fruit. For all of its flavor, pear blossoms are at best unpleasant and more commonly pungent. In medicine, doctors often categorize body types into apple or pear shape, with pear, meaning curvy hips as opposed to large bellies, considered to be the healthier of the two. Yet the shape is also considered unshapely, often being used as a euphemism for overweight. In many parts of the world a pear is a symbol for love, somewhat resembling the shape of a human heart, but it is also a symbol of loss as it resembles a tear drop. But don't weep for the pear. It has a unique abil- ity to keep itself in your heart for the holidays. Even today, pears are among the least perishable fruits on Earth and are available to the world nearly year- round. China produces three-quarters of the world's pear supply while the U.S. represents less than a per- cent. California is just the third leading state in pear production behind Washington and Oregon. Pears don't even register as a fraction of a percent of the planted acreage in Tulare County, but there is no denying the significance of this fruit during the holiday season. So when you are deciding what to bring to your holiday party or family gathering, re- member that nothing pairs with the holidays quite like pears. What 's Pears Text by reggie ellis 2 017 H O L I D AY M A G A Z I N E 21

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