Benita Rafzas is an unusual hybrid pear, which combines the melting sweet flavours of a classic European pear with the crisp juicy texture of an Asian or "Nashi" pear.
As with all Asian pears, the fruits actually resemble golden yellow apples, sometimes with some russet. They also have the crunchy crispness of an apple.
In the UK Benita Rafzas is likely to ripen in late August and early September - around the same time as the well-known Williams pear. The fruits can be eaten fresh, or stored in a fridge for several months.
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Benita Rafzas is best treated as an Asian pear when it comes to caring for it in the garden. That means planting it in full sun and giving it plenty of space.
Cropping is generally very light in UK conditions.
It will cross-pollinate with both Asian and European pears which are in flower at the same time - towards the start of the pear blossom season. It is cold-hardy and generally disease-free.
Benita Rafzas was developed from a late-flowering French pear (Pyrus communis) called General Leclerc, which is possibly related to the highly-regarded Doyenne du Comice. It was pollinated with the pollen of an Asian pear variety (Pyrus pyrifolia) called Hosui. It was raised by Peter Hauenstein of Rafz, Switzerland, in the 1980s. (He also developed the Rubinette apple, perhaps the best flavoured of all apples).