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BOOK: Happy Anniversary, Harry & David

harry-david

The Story Of Harry & David: Entrepreneur
Samuel Rosenberg had no farming
experience but was inspired in 1909 to
buy the orchards that produced the award-
winning Royal Riviera pears.

Harry & David, America’s favorite source for gourmet food gifts, celebrates its diamond anniversary this year. Seventy-five years ago, entrepreneur Samuel Rosenberg paid $300,000 for 237 acres of pear orchards that grew the Doyenne du Comice pear, now known as the Royal Riviera pear.

Developed in France in 1849, it was called “the fruit of kings” because it was favored by royalty. Difficult to grow, the Comice demaded a delicate climate and soil combination found in few regions of the world…but one of those places turned out to be Medford, Oregon, in the Rogue River Valley.

Introduced there in 1897, the pear—which can weigh as much as a pound—thrived in the Bear Creek Orchard, established in 1886. The original owner sold the orchard in 1900, and the new owner set a world record for crop yield. After seeing an exhibit of the orchard’s award-winning Comice and d’Anjou pears, Samuel Rosenberg inquired about the property.

The interesting thing is that his two sons, Harry and David, attended Cornell University’s School of Agriculture with the intent of raising prize-winning merino ship. But the premature death of their father, from pneumonia, took them on a detour—and turned them into one of the most beloved names in fine fruit.

The Comice pear has a stubby, almost round shape with green skin; it often has a significant red blush on one cheek. It is best eaten as a hand fruit, or paired with blue cheese as a dessert.

 




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