Brothers Harry and David studied agriculture at Cornell University. They believed that the European Comice pear that thrived in France (Angers, France, to be exact) would also do well in Southern Oregon, and they were right. The fruit that grew was so exceptionally sweet and juicy, they knew they had something special. They gave these new Harry & David pears a name that reflected their luxurious nature — Royal Riviera Pears.
Royal Riviera Pears are winter pears, which means that they don’t ripen on the tree. They only ripen after you put them in cold storage. To determine when the pear harvest can begin, typically the end of August and lasts for about four weeks, the orchard team tests the firmness of roughly 4,000 pears.
When they’re in the field, a penetrometer can be used, but typically a larger fruit texture analyzer determines which pears have reached maturity. Pears in the sun mature faster than those on the shady side of each tree, so pressure tests are done on a variety of fruit from different locations and then an average is used.
The fruit texture analyzer takes the information gathered and translates it into a color-coded spreadsheet. The test reveals the average firmness and maturity level of the fruit, and when it reaches the desired 10 to 13 pounds of pressure per square inch, the harvest can begin.
Since the pears are not quite ready to eat when harvested, their next stop is cold storage. This is where their sugars will fully develop. Once this process is complete, the results are the extraordinary Royal Riviera Pears we know and love.