Conference is a slender, green, partially russeted pear. It is medium to large in size, and has white flesh and a small core. It can be enjoyed as a crisp, crunchy fruit, or at any stage of softening, and is particularly irresistible when levels of sweetness are high. Conference can often be quite bland, but, somehow still has a curious appeal. The ripened, softened flesh is quite smooth.
Conference pears have become the most common and popular of pears in the UK market. This is partly because they are a good pear for growers, being productive and reliable, but also as they can be stored for 10 to12 months without deterioration. They are therefore consistently available and relatively cheap.
Conference grown in warmer countries, such as Italy and Spain, has a more conical shape and tends to have higher levels of sweetness.
Good Fruit Guide Rating: ***
Consumers will like Conference pears for its attractive crunchy texture and, when sweet and soft, for its fine flesh. It is also a pear sold at very good values.
Crisp or soft, lovely when sweet
Origin: Conference was found as a seedling of Van Mons Leon Leclerc and was developed as a variety by nurseryman Thomas Francis Rivers at Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, UK. It was first introduced to commercial growers in 1885.
Grown in: Conference is most commonly grown in north-west Europe, being the mainstay of pear production in England, Holland and Belgium. However, good production also exists in Spain and Italy, and there is some commercial production in South Africa becoming available.
Harvest & Availability: As Conference pears can be stored for 10 months or more, most of those sold in UK are home-grown or from Holland and Belgium. If stocks run short in late summer / early Autumn, imports from Spain and Italy will appear on shelves:
- January: UK, Holland, Belgium
- February: UK, Holland, Belgium
- March: UK, Holland, Belgium
- April: UK, Holland, Belgium
- May: UK, Holland, Belgium
- June: UK, Holland, Belgium
- July: UK, Holland, Belgium
- August: UK, Holland, Belgium, Spain
- September: UK, Holland, Belgium, Spain
- October: UK, Holland, Belgium
- November: UK, Holland, Belgium
- December: UK, Holland, Belgium
OrangePippin – Conference