I refer to pears as, “California’s real gold” because the trees found here in the Sacramento valley were brought over during the gold rush and unlike gold there’s always plenty to be be found. Many of the farming families who planted pears near Sacramento’s gold rush communities are still farming today, it’s an incredible legacy! I totally agree with the Greek poet Homer who said, pears are “a gift of the gods”! There’s nothing quite like biting into a velvety, sweet, juicy pear at the height of the season. July- August is a busy time, summer pear harvesting is in full swing and I was so lucky to get to see a small glimpse of that!
At the end of July I had the privilege to attend the International Food Blogger Conference hosted here in Sacramento, California. We started the conference off by touring a few local farms in the area. Stillwater Orchards is located only 15 miles outside of my hometown. They grow many varieties of pears, Bartlett, bosc & comice to name a few. It was such an amazing experience to meet one of the wonderful families dedicated to growing these beautifully delicious nuggets. The Elliot family was so warm and welcoming I felt as though I was a part of their family. I’m hoping they will adpot me, haha!
They took us through the groves where we saw picker’s harvesting the bosc pears in large canvas bags secured around their shoulders. As the bags filled up, the harvesters unloaded them into large white crates. They looked so beautiful all gathered together, I couldn’t help but peer through the large slits in the crates dreaming of what delicious things I could create with these little jewels!
We learned that California pear farmers are leaders in sustainability. 87% keep orchard rows vegetated to reduce soil erosion and over 95% use integrated pest management to control insects naturally, drastically reducing the use of chemical pesticides! I couldn’t love this more, you all now how big I am on sustainable farming! I’m hoping to have my own small farm one day soon!
(Photo by Bella Karragiannidis ful-filled.com)
We ended the tour with a beautiful lunch underneath the shade of 140 year old sycamores. We ate a pear inspired meal that was so dreamy, but my favorite had to be the gluten free pear crumble. I was inspired to make something just as tasty to highlight this gorgeous summer fruit! I love mini desserts so I just had to make a cute paleo farm to fork baked treat!
These little cakes are so easy to make and they taste even better made with fresh fruit on top! I made them with some Bartlett pears from the Elliot farm. I recommend making them with Bartlett pears, although you can use whatever pear variety you like best!
I waited a bit before baking with them as my pears were green and not quite ready to use. I let them sit on the counter for a few days until they were yellow. Bartlett pears ripen at room temperature, turning from green to yellow as the pear becomes softer and ready to eat. Don’t put them in the fridge until they turn yellow to preserve their ripeness. They will stay good for about 3-5 days.
Once they were sweet and ripe I happily made them into these small cakes. They’re so fun and the perfect size to snack on! Especially for kids or kids at heart ! I hope you love them as much as we do! Now go buy some lovely pears and go get your bake on!