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October 1, 2013

This oldest of pear trees bears fruit

(Continued)

The tree is not easy to find. It sits down an embankment in back of Osram’s parking lot. It’s protected on three sides by large yews and surrounded by a tall, black metal fence.

“We are stewards of the land,” said Elena Sierra, the administrator of Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care at 104 Endicott St. “So, when we bought the land here and opened in 2009, we ... became stewards of the tree.”

Sierra works with the Danvers Historical Society and the Essex National Heritage Commission to preserve the tree. Sierra does not allow unlimited public access, because the tree needs to be protected and sits on private property off a parking lot for two bustling facilities.

“We work to provide access that makes sense to the community for events,” Sierra said. “It’s private property, so we don’t have unlimited access, because, as you can see, the tree is doing super well in its protective little enclave here. So, we don’t want to expose it to risk. It’s sort of a tricky balance; how do you promote a really important resource like this and historical tie, and then safeguard it and keep it well.”

Sierra plans to send pears to the Danvers Historical Society, town hall, Essex National Heritage, and the presidents of Mass General and North Shore Medical Center, among others. One of her physicians makes pear butter. Sierra’s husband, Claudio, is a chef who makes an infusion using the pears. She also gives some to Osram employees.

As far as the tree goes, the Endecott-Endicott Family Association has produced scions of the pear tree, one of which is growing at the medical center’s healing garden. The Danvers Historical Society’s Glen Magna Farms on Ingersoll Street and the Rebecca Nurse Homestead on Pine Street also have some young Endecott pear trees growing on their properties.

Sierra said the young pear tree in the healing garden is “an insurance policy” in case something happens to the old tree.

“The arborists don’t know why she is still alive and thriving,” Sierra said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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