Islington Tribune
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Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 2 October 2009
Residents, from left, Bridget Butt, Jane Howard, Poppy Schneck, 4, and her mother Michiko
Residents, from left, Bridget Butt, Jane Howard, Poppy Schneck, 4, and her mother Michiko ’
Street happy as it all goes pear-shaped

Neighbours celebrate first bumper crop of fruit from trees that escaped axe

WITH bags and baskets brimming with fruit, it could have been harvest time somewhere in the country. Instead, this bountiful pear “orchard” was an inner-city street in Archway.
Dozens of eager locals turned up at St John’s Villas, off Holloway Road, on Friday to collect pears from this year’s bumper crop.
Using ladders and rope harnesses, contractors hired by Islington Council climbed the seven 30-foot trees to pluck pears from branches.
The pears, with a slightly dry taste, are described by residents as mostly still firm but good to eat if left to soften for a few days. They are probably best enjoyed if cooked and are believed to be of the round Perry variety, although this is still being researched.
Two years ago the trees, 30 to 40 years old, were branded a health- and-safety hazard and faced the axe. Their fruit was dubbed “killer pears” because it fell on pedestrians’ heads, dented parked cars and caused passers-by to slip on mulched pears.
Residents launched a “save our pear trees” campaign, and the council relented. Last year, it offered to harvest the trees but forgot to warn drivers who had parked in the road. As a result, contractors had to abandon the job. This year, parking was banned for the day.
“We all took away big bags of pears,” said accountant Bridget Butt. “They were still quite hard so it will take a few days before they are edible.”
Retired university administrator Jane Howard said the pears were the best she had seen. “The fact that the council pruned the trees a while ago, and good weather conditions, have made them particularly good this year,” she added.
The council’s Lib Dem environment chief, Councillor Greg Foxsmith, was delighted with the pear crop. “We have not only removed the pears, which did pose problems for people in the street, but have provided the fruit free to the residents. It’s a perfectly sustainable solution,” he said.

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