They are French Butter pears, and I found them at Whole Foods Market. The sticker says they’re from California. Since I’m in Utah at the moment, they didn’t have to travel too far, although much further than the peaches I bought yesterday at the farmers market that traveled only 60 miles.
A little research tells me that this pear is also known as Beurre Hardy and is a relative of the Anjou (which isn’t my favorite — that would be Comice). This heritage variety was used almost exclusively for canning up until several years ago, since it doesn’t travel well when even the slightest bit ripe. But farmers markets and specialty grocery stores are stocking the French Butter pear when it’s grown nearby.
I’m waiting for them to ripen. Pears are one of a handful of fruits that ripen off the tree (bananas, peaches and plums are others), so it’s only a matter of days before the flesh around the stem begins to give a little under pressure. By then, I’ll be able to detect a delicate, pear fragrance from the bottom end. For now, the butter pears are window dressing. In a few days, they’ll be sugary sand in my mouth. Hurry.