Williams’ Bon Chrétien, also known as Green Williams, Williams or Bartlett is one of the most widely grown pears in the world. It is an early to mid-season pear, known for its good eating quality with fine, tender, juicy white flesh. The fruit has a slightly squat pointed shape and the peel a fine pale clear white-green with visible lenticels.
Susceptible to Fire Blight.
Ripening: Williams’ needs to be eaten when soft, which is indicated by the pale yellow colour of the peel when ripe. The tenderness of the flesh is obvious through the thin skin. The pear does not keep for long in the fruit bowl, but ripening can be delayed for a few days in the fridge.
Origin: Despite the name, the variety actually originates in Aldermaston, England, circa 1765, discovered as a wilding by Mr Stair, a school master. It was later acquired in 1770 by a nurseryman, Mr Richard Williams of Turnham Green, who was responsible for it’s spread across England. The variety was introduced to Massachusetts in 1799, where it was planted on the estate of Thomas Brewer, in Roxbury. In 1817, this estate was acquired by a Mr Enoch Bartlett, who proceeded to introduce trees more widely across the USA.
Grown in: Williams’ Bon Chrétien is widely grown in most production regions of European-type pears.
Harvest & Availability: Williams’ pears are not particularly capable of long storage in conventional or CA stores, but introduction of techniques to block ethylene receptors has lengthened storage time significantly. The most important sources for the European market are:
Late-August to April: from Spain, Italy
Late-February to August: from South Africa, Argentina