While you are out and about, I’ve got a great find to share. While you are shopping local, be sure to treat yourself and buy at least one local pear. Or, buy a dozen, you can thank me later!
It’s the last Saturday morning in August as this post goes live. Where and how will you be shopping local?
I suggest you scoot over to the Matthews Community Farmers Market and stop at the Hot Pepper Herb Farm booth to shop for local pears. The season slips up on you, sometime between peaches and figs, and muscadines and apples, is the time for pears. Don’t miss ’em! Each bite is tender and sweet, ripe pulp you could eat with a spoon, yet still firm enough to hold its shape and texture when baked.
I discovered these pears a week or so ago and have been in heaven ever since. This harvest comes from Eric and Cathy McCall of Hot Pepper Herb Farm in Granite Falls, SC.
The couple has sold regularly sells at the Matthews Community Farmers Market on Saturday mornings for the past 16 years. This year, pears have come in strong for the McCalls. Branches are full off large hefty pears, some weighing in at as much as a pound.
Pear Trees, Plums, Apples and more
I had the good fortune to visit the McCall’s homestead farm this week and loved every minute. We walking through the orchard of pear trees. plums, apples , and as well as the trio of greenhouses ( named, for fun, R2D2, CP30; and a third named Bruce, in loving honor of a long time market customer and volunteer.)
In the greenhouses, the last of the late harvest tomatoes ( including the Julia Child variety I love so much.) Cukes are still on the vine here; and in the raised beds, up and coming peppers and squash. Adjacent fields are currently home to late summer crops of peppers and peas.
Pear Season Hits Between the Harvest of Figs and Grapes
There is also a stand of fig trees; and an arbour planted with several varieties of muscadine grapes, which are hanging now and ripe for the picking. Figs are still available, although Eric and Cathy point out the 2020 harvest is waning. If you are feeling figgy, best to reach out to the McCalls with a phone call or Facebook message. Or ask if you can still order for next week at the market this morning. They are taking orders as long as the trees keep producing.
This week and for several weeks that follow there will be grapes among the pepper, eggplant and peas at the Hot Pepper Herb Farm Stand. Muscadines to be exact, as sweet and ripe as the pears that grow on the same property.
Pears a Plenty
In the Hot Pepper Herb Farm orchard there are four different varieties of American pears. Neighboring trees sport several different types of Asian pears, as well.
Some larger than others, some with thicker skins; but each one just as delicious as the next and all pear-fect in each of the following recipes. Celebrate the size and pear-shape of some of the biggest fruit with this first recipe. Easy to make and beautiful to present, these stuffed and pastry wrapped pears for a wonderful late summer/early fall dessert.
Stuffed Baked Pastry Wrapped Pears
You’ll need one locally grown Hot Pepper Herb Farm pear per person
your favorite pie crust dough – here is my favorite recipe – or you can use ready made rolled refrigerator dough. My favorite brand is organic and from Immaculate Baker. Dough for a single crust for one 9-10 inch pie will cover two large pears.
Four four pears, used about 1/2 cup of ground pistachios mixed with 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon. I like using the Saigon Cinnamon from the Savory Spice Shop in Southend Charlotte.
a bit of flour for dusting
Being by using a serrated edge tomato corer to hollow out the core of the pear. Work from the blossom or bottom end of each pear, keeping the stem end intact.
Then, use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel the skin off of each pear. Be sure to keep the stem end intact.
Stuff the pistachio and cinnamon mix into the cored out hole in the bottom of each pear. Press the stuffing to pack it in.
Lightly dust the stuffed peeled pears with flour.
Time to wrap the pears with pastry
Place each pear on a round of pastry, cut slightly larger than the bottom of the pear. The flour will help the pastry to stick to the fruit.
Cut the remaining pastry into long strips and wind them around each pear to completely cover the fruit. Press the pastry slightly as you wind so that it will stick to the fruit.
When you get to the stem end, wind the pastry around the stem. Use the tip of paring knife, to cut a pastry leaf, Press the leaf on, to look as if it was attached to the stem.
Brush each pastry wrapped pear with a glaze of beaten egg. Place the pears in a parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 11-15 mins or until the pastry is GBD. That’s Golden, Browned and Delicious! Enjoy hot or at room temp.
Aunt Lore’s Rosy Pear Compote
This is a recipe from my childhood. My Aunt Lore Edidin, also a big Julia Child fan, taught me a lot about cooking. This recipe came to me from here and was one of the first I remember cooking for our family Thanksgiving meals.
1 (16oz) can whole cranberry sauce. I think now, though, instead of buying a can, I would make my own. Or use this recipe for Cranberry Chutney)
1/3 cup sugar
Tablespoon of lemon juice
a quarter teaspoon each: ground cinnamon and ground ginger
6 local Hot Pepper Herb Farm pears, peeled, pared and quartered
2 medium organic navel oranges, peeled, seeded, cut in half and sliced
Combine the cranberry sauce, sugar, lemon juice and spiced and bring the mix to a boil. If you are using my cranberry chutney recipe, forgo the additional sugar, spices and lemon called for here. Simply heat 2 cups of the homemade chutney with 1/2-3/4 cup of water.
Bring the mix to a gentle boil.
Next, place the quartered pears and orange slices in an oven to table casserole. Carefully, pour the hot cranberry mixture over the pears and oranges. Cover with the casserole lid or foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 mins. Spoon the fruit mixture into sherbet dishes and serve warm as a side, or top with ice cream for dessert.
This is another recipe from my Aunt Lore. Consider is fall’s answer to Summer’s peach cobbler.
5-6 large Hot Pepper Herb Farm local pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup organic sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp. cinnamon and a teaspoon of ground cardamom
Place the sliced pears in a pie pan. and toss with the sugar and spices. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, Make the Pastry Topping
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 local eggs
1 cup flour
a teaspoon baking powder
Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. You can do this by hand but its easier and faster with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and egg to the mix. Combine the flour and baking soda together in a bowl and blend with a whisk. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend well to make a batter.
Remove the pears from the oven. Uncover and top with dollops of the batter. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered; and bake for another 20-25 mins. Serve warm or cold, topped with whipped cream, ice cream or a simple drizzle of heavy cream.
Want to know more?
You can read more about what’s happening at Hot Pepper Herb Farm and what will be for sale each week by following the farm on Facebook. Cathy writes a weekly update that goes live each Thursday. Give them a follow.
Hot Pepper Herb Farm of Great Falls, SC was established in 2005. They continue to be a sustainable, all natural farm that uses only GMO-free seeds and provides seasonal vegetables, fruit, plants, berries and pepper products.
With the benefit of their three high-tunnels, they can extend their growing season
through the winter months. Their greenhouse allows them to provide a wide
variety of starter plants for sale and planting.
Ask about being a Hot Pepper CSA Member
Contact Cathy and Eric every Saturday at the Matthews Market or by phone at 803-482-6869. Or email them at AsHotAsPossible@gmail.com
Cathy and Eric have established a unique flexible, “non-traditional” CSA program which runs all year long. It gives customers the option of choosing exactly what produce they want and when to purchase it. Be sure to ask how you can sign up!
Also subscribe to the Matthews Market newsletter; as well as the newsletters from other local Charlotte area markets. Local farmers are bringing a lot to the table all year long, you won’t want to miss a single bite! #TellThemHeidiSentYou