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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 671: IX International Pear Symposium

‘ROCHA’, THE PEAR FROM PORTUGAL

Authors:   J.M. Silva, N.G. Barba, M.T. Barros, A. Torres-Paulo
Keywords:   marketing, Pyrus communis, scion cultivar
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2005.671.29
Abstract:
The original 'Rocha' pear tree, probably a chance seedling, dates from the middle of the 19th century and is described by an early 20th century author as being cultivated in the garden of Pedro Rocha, a horse dealer from Sintra, near Lisbon. It is not easy to market a 'new' pear cultivar, pear consumers being very conservative, but the 1991/92 marketing campaign, in a year when there was a European deficit in pear supplies, provided the ideal export opportunity for 'Rocha' growers. The exports to Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Ireland peaked at 65 000 tons in 1997/98, which was another bad year for the Italian pear crop and hence European supplies. Retailers praise the good shelf life of this attractive yellow summer pear. It is not as juicy as 'Comice' but it is less messy to eat without a knife and plate. It has a good taste and flavour. The usual picking date is around August 15 and the pear stores well at 0-1°C up to April, especially under controlled atmosphere conditions. 'Rocha' pear is very sensitive to pear scab (Venturia sp.) and also to Stemphylium sp. It is moderately sensitive to pear psylla (Cacpsylla pyri), but less than 'Beurré Hardy' or 'Forelle'. Fire blight has not yet been detected in our country but French researchers say that 'Rocha' is not among the most sensitive cultivars.

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