Arkansas sugar pears

Arkansas Sugar Pears: The Most Delicious Mystery You’ll Ever Taste

There has been talk about the greatness of the Arkansas sugar pear but much mystery lies in what variety of pear they are and where they came from.

Recently, through the power of Facebook groups, I connected with a husband-and-wife team who enjoy traveling around Arkansas and taking beautiful photos of what they see; Jeff and Vickie Gray.

I feel so blessed to have met them and that they allow me to publish their photos within my articles. You will find their photos through many of the pages of this website including articles about Arkansas Alligators, Little Missouri Falls, and Best Free Range Egg Farms.

However, a few days ago they sent me a photo that had me stumped. They told me it was a photo of Sugar Pears. 

Arkansas Sugar Pears
Arkansas Sugar Pears. Photo Credit: Jeff Gray

The only pears I know about are regular ole grocery store pears. Sugar Pears are new to me.

I love pears. I always have. So, I was determined to figure this out. 

These particular sugar pears grow just a couple hundred feet in front of this beautiful, old barn.

Old Arkansas Barn
Old Barn in South Arkansas. Photo Credit: Vickie Gray

According to Vickie’s dad, you pull them off the tree, peel them and eat them. He says they’re very sweet and delicious.

Sugar Pears growing by a farm house in South Arkansas.
Sugar Pears growing by a farm house in South Arkansas. Photo Credit: Jeff Gray

I contacted the county extension office who finally cleared up the confusion…sort of.

What are typically called “Sugar Pears” here in Arkansas are possibly the sweetest European-type pear variety known as Seckel Pear. 

However, it seems that no one can agree on where the Seckel Pear came from.

Arkansas Sugar Pears. Photo Credit: Jeff Gray

“Seckels are believed by many to be the only truly American variety of pear grown commercially. Unlike other varieties planted in the U.S. from European cultivars, Seckels are thought to have originated as a wild seedling near Philadelphia. They were discovered in the early 1800’s. This may or may not be true, however. It is possible that German immigrants travelling westward through the area dropped fruit or left seeds behind.” -source

Another story states: “The Seckel pear is considered native to Pennsylvania, though there is some mystery surrounding its history. It’s said to be named after a local farmer who found a “wild sapling” growing just outside Philadelphia late 1700’s.” -source

Vickie picking sugar pears for her mom.
Vickie picking sugar pears for her mom. Photo Credit: Jeff Gray

Because of the sweet and spicy flavor, folks started calling the Seckel Pear a Sugar Pear.

No matter where they originated, you can rest assured that these pears are a delicious treat.

Sugar Pears are petite in size which makes them a fun snack or easy to can whole.

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