Pears by the pair
By Suzanne Werre
For the past couple weeks or so, Underwood’s Ralph Driessen has been doing his part to make sure area kids are eating healthy snacks after school. One of the school’s new bus drivers, Ralph has been handing out home-grown pears to not only the kids who ride his bus, but also to their friends who come up asking for a quick after-school snack.
"I think they like them because they’re small and easy to eat," said Ralph, who has been picking the pears on the tree in his and wife Julie’s backyard for about three weeks now.
"I drive around and give them away," he said, and that’s not when he’s not on the bus.
Ralph has been giving away his plethora of pears (last year there were twice as many, he notes) for quite a few years. Some people use them for canning, others for baking, and a lot just for eating. He even gets a pie from a grateful pear recipient every year.
"I have people asking, ‘when are the pears going to be ready’," he said with a smile.
While a lot of the apples in the area aren’t quite sweetened up yet, the Driessens’ pears have been ready for a good couple weeks now, and Ralph has been making his way around town giving them away. He’s even found one group of pear fanatics that will come directly to him to get their pears, and that’s the kids on his bus route.