Briefs: English pears all year round

Tesco, a UK-based retailer, has announced the availability of English pears all year round. Until now, the autumn fruit, which some consider the best in the world, was only available from September-May. Tesco's biggest pear supplier, Adrian Scribbs Ltd, reportedly invested GBP 60000 in the new storage centre and machinery allowing for the monitoring of the pears at every stage in the process from picking to the store: pears are checked for firmness and sugar levels while they are still on the trees in order to assess their optimal levels for storage. Once harvested by hand, they are rapidly cooled, in under 48 hours, and then placed in large 400 kg bins with plastic lids which help retain moisture during storage. Temperature can now be regulated down to a degree. This equipment had never been used on a commercial scale because of the prohibitive cost of the machinery involved, but Tesco hopes other English growers will follow the trend. Source: