The pear has been around for ages even before any written text. In Greek culture the pear is sacred to the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, and Pomona an Italian goddess of gardens of Harvest. In Ancient Chinese culture the pear was a symbol of immortality. You can find both European pears and Asian pears in your farmers’ market this season. The European Pears are picked from the trees before they are completely ripened, stored in a cool temperature and then brought to the markets. These pears have a sweet buttery flavor with some acidic notes. The Asian pears ripen on the tree, can be eaten right after picking, and have more crisp texture with less acidity. When choosing a pear to eat check the neck to see if is tender to the touch. The stem should come off easily. Pears will bruise easily so make sure you handle them with care. When cutting them make sure to serve immediately, or add a little lemon and sugar to prevent them from browning too quickly. The sweetness of pears goes great in salads of bitter greens, nuts, and your favorite blue cheese. You can also poach them in wine or bake them into a tart for your favorite dessert! Pears are not only a delicious treat, but they offer many nutritional benefits as well. They are high in Vitamin C which helps protect your immune system, and Vitamin K which helps to develop and maintain strong bones. Consuming pears raw will allow the body to absorb the mineral potassium which helps to regulate blood pressure and may relieve hypertension. The first pear you buy this season, eat raw with your eyes closed and taste all of the flavors it has to offer. Then start adding it in to your cooking repertoire. Lastly, eat them while they are in season to take advantage of abundance of vitamins and minerals pears have to offer! Pears with Walnuts and Cheese 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 2 medium ripe pears, sliced 1/4-inch 2 tablespoons crumbled Roquefort cheese 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts Stir together oil, vinegar, mustard and pepper in medium bowl. Add all remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Arrange on lettuce leaves for nice presentation. Enjoy!