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Canada’s new pear gets name


April 24, 2008
By Hugh McElhone

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Hard pressed to find a name for
its new pear variety, researchers with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
(AAFC) asked the general public to not only sample the tender fruit,
but also cast their vote in naming it.

Hard pressed to find a name for its new pear variety, researchers with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) asked the general public to not only sample the tender fruit, but also cast their vote in naming it.

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pear1
Above: Harovin Sundown is noted for its late-season ripening, excellent storability, plus its resistance to fire blight.
Below: AAFC-Vineland researcher Dr. David Hunter announced the new pear
name at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention held in St.
Catharines, Ont.
Photo by Hugh McElhone
pear2


Lead researcher Dr. David Hunter said he could not think of a name for the pear. “I couldn’t even name my own kids,” he admitted with a laugh. AAFC information officer Debbie Lockrey-Wessel came up with the idea for a name-that-pear campaign, which was launched at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto last November.

The pear’s first name, Harovin, was already decided and denotes the Harrow and Vineland research stations involved in its development. For its second name, voters had the choice of Bounty, Gaia, Pride, Prime or Sundown. With some 11,000 votes cast at the Royal, as well as online, Sundown was the easy winner with more than 6,000 votes.

The official name unveiling was made at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., in mid-February. On hand for the unveiling was Dean Allison, MP for Niagara West-Glanbrook.

“The government has invested $15.5 million into the research station at Vineland,” said Allison, and this cash injection has furthered  the development of the Harovin Sundown.

The new pear is unique in that it ripens in late fall and stores very well for up to three months, which means fresh Canadian pears will be available to consumers right through the Christmas season, said Allison. “This is not only good for Canadian consumers, but it’s good for producers and gives them a competitive edge.”

Harovin Sundown began life at Harrow in 1972 as HW 614, the result of a Bartlett hybrid cross by Dr. H.A. Quamme. From 1989 to 1992, cultivars were released for planting throughout southern Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, where it was tested for vigour and disease resistance.

HW 614 not only performed well in all three tender fruit growing areas, but demonstrated a strong tolerance to fire blight. Along with disease tolerance, Sundown produces an oval-shaped fruit that is firm and a delight to eat, says Dr. Hunter. “People who don’t like pears tried it and were amazed at the taste.”