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Am I the only one who hates Harry & David?

Harry & David is mysteriously popular, it seems to me. Every year I receive at least one of their baskets piled high with mostly paper and air and absolutely dreadful bags of stale, tasteless-at-best unimaginative and uninteresting offerings. Their "cheese" in particular is far below the 'tasteless' stage -- it's just plain execrable.

The pears, I will allow, are positively heavenly. No doubt about that. Eating those pears must be as close to nirvana as one can come. Ordering them, OTOH, is not.

It's all the games that the internet company plays that send me. There are a bazillion coupons out there for H&D, but they mostly don't work and then when you order they turn around and tease you with a discount on something else only it doesn't work if you click the button while standing on your left foot ... and meanwhile the other coupon stopped working because you were so disloyal as to consider a different coupon.... Etc.

And then it's just plain incredibly expensive.

So 99% of their product is tasteless, it's expensive and annoying and ubiquitous. Yet I feel I'm the only one sick and tired of them?

I got fed up tonight and decided someone else out there must be growing and sending pears, right? So I ordered from these guys: http://www.troutcreekorchard.com/farm...

The above link shows you how cool they are about farming sustainably. A lot of very thoughtful creative practices they describe. And then their pears -- $30/dz post *paid*. Plus, they're still able to send for Xmas. It all looked like such a comparatively good deal I ordered a box for me! Course I haven't tasted them yet to compare with the real McCoy ("Royal Riviera", the pretentious H&D name for Comice pears to the rest of us). Keep ya posted.

Thought someone else might still need to send a fruit gift, appreciate the H&D sentiments or wish to support a nifty-sounding small operation rather than mega-major-national-pretenders (to gourmet-ness) H&D.

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  1. Nope. I really like Harry & David. Their chipotle snack mix is one of my all time favorites. There are definite hits and misses though. I wouldn't waste money on their plain pretzels, popcorn, or even the Moose Munch. But, their frozen cheesecake was good as far as frozen cheesecakes go, and I am a huge fan of most of their snack mixes.

    1. I think their fruit is wonderful, but don't like any of the rest of their "stuff."

      1. we are annually inundated with h&d packages at work this time of year. the fruit is the only worthwhile thing, and even then it's no better than what a savvy shopper can buy for less at almost any grocery. i think h&d's primary business is corporate gifts. they probably make it easy to order a generic gift (with a bulk discount) & send it to your address list.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mark

          The chocolate covered bing cherries are the best!!!

          1. re: mark

            As mark said, they make it unbelievably easy to reorder to the same people year after year (we used to receive the order list already preprinted!).

            The fruit is the only edible item that we like from them (specifically, the pears). The other foodstuffs are all basically generic crap that one can find elsewhere with better quality and a better price point.

            The only other thing we used to regularly order was one of their little xmas trees for my grandmother in a nursing home. It always came packaged beautifully and was a really lovely little thing (as it should have been for the price).

          2. We got a basket at work. Those pears are heavenly but the basket included two bags of "Triple Apple Confections' which we all dared each other to eat. I took one small bite and it tasted exactly like when you get suntan lotion in your mouth. Awful! Other than that, there is also a bag of chocolate fruits which are absolutely awful. But we did enjoy the spicy party mix, the chocolate dipped pretzels and popcorn, and those pears!

            1. http://www.hillcrestorchard.com/index...
              these folks are local and quite a bit smaller.
              Too late for this year.....

              1 Reply
              1. re: bbqboy

                Trout Creek Orchards will send 12 pears for $30 incl shipping. HillCrest Orchards offers 6 pears for $23 PLUS shipping. Wow! very big difference.

              2. Believe it or not, IMO one of the best things about H&D is the packaging. I've been getting a pack of their stuff yearly from a company I work with. I love the pears, the cherries, apples, and nut mix are good, the cheese not bad. But I use the little boxes over and over for small presents. When I started getting them back in gifts I knew others like them too.

                Overpriced? Sure, a knowledgeable shopper could put together a better and cheaper package. But H&D fills a need for easy shopping with some good stuff, for a corporation or someone busy, handicapped, or doing a mass mailing. Don't discount the massive advantages of that -- call or write, spend some money and everything is taken care of.

                The Trout Creek pears look really good; their company also looks like a good one. But few people will use a dozen pears. Us CHers might, but how many others?

                H&G is a darn sight better than Hickory Farms, and since I compile food gifts with individually selected items I don't know what else is out there. Any one here know of a higher quality seller of gift packages with different types of food -- food that will appeal to a wide variety of folks?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Richard 16

                  Don't know whether this is a wide-enough variety for you but www.fiddlersgreen.com will make anything into a gift box. They have granolas and cereals and other grain stuff. Not sure if that's variable enough though...

                  1. re: aliris

                    Are you sure that's the right link? I get a golfing pro shop...

                2. I humbly admit i still like H&D. They do make it very easy to reorder. I am a huge fruit fan, and I have tried to find better pears and been burned over and over. For consistency, size and deliciousness, the pears are the best deal around, even though I am horrified when I do the math and figure out how much each pear costs! But I have made the decision to pay for good fruit. So as a once a year as a treat, i suck it up. They also have a great return policy. If you are not satisfied, they are very good about it. I once tried the fig order, and we were horribly disappointed (flavourless fruit). They gave us a credit no questions asked. I think they were very reasonable. I like to give the pears as gifts for my family, who also adore good fruit, and would never let themselves pay that much for fruit. They can motor through one of those boxes in 2-3 days. And the presentation is so nice... Call it a guilty pleasure....

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: moh

                    True Chowhounds only mail order meat from smokehouses!

                    1. re: Hensley

                      Try this one from Lubec, Maine: boldcoastsmokehouse.com The lemon kabobs are great but I'm especially fond of their various smoked oysters and also lox.

                    2. re: moh

                      When I had received a box of the Oregold Peaches that had a few spoiled, they sent me a full replacement box without any delay. I'm glad they stand behind their product.

                    3. I think this is one where people can agree to disagree, save for the pears. They are so unbelievably fabulous. Fortunately, H & D has some locations near enough by where I live that I can get there once during the pear season and feed the addiction. I usually get the Maverick ones, a bit less expensive. And last time I bought some, I had a $10 coupon if I spent $40 and the deal was buy one box, get a second at 1/2 price, so I did that and shared with my mom and sister. I should have cut my sister out of this one.

                      As to their other products, it's hit or miss, as with everywhere else. I love the blueberries and tried a tomato basil salad dressing that I liked. Also tried a flavored pasta that was pretty good. And I bought a sampler pack of 6 soups. A bit pricey, especially when you figure in the stuff you have to add to some of them, but most were pretty good and the recipe yield was perfect for someone who lives alone to have over the course of a few days. I bought a brie in puff pastry a few years ago and thought it was particularly average and pricey. I vaguely recall trying some sort of mini smoked turkey and smoked ham deal and that they were just average and particularly salty.

                      I haven't really had problems when I have ordered directly from the site, but I like going into the store and avoiding their obscene shipping charges.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                        Shayna Madel
                        Very well put. I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I too, enjoy going to their outlets. They always have tasty "stuff" to try and their prices, when not combined with those lethal shipping charges, are managabble. I admit to a weakness for those chocolaty cherries

                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                          I must say until reading your post that I had absolutely no idea they had actual store locations. How funny is that! I just assumed they were a strictly catalogue place. (Oh, and I've never had any issues with ordering from them but I usually do some on the telephone not the web.)

                          1. re: LNG212

                            The stores are only in the last few years, maybe 5 or so and aren't all over the place. I think they tend to be in outlet centers, like Chelsea Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlet Centers, though not all of them are.

                            1. re: Shayna Madel

                              There is an outlet in Carlsbad CA, and another north of Seattle that I know of. Here is a tip if you are buying for yourself rather than as a gift. I love!!!!! those pears, but I can't afford the prices normally. A few years ago, either the day after xmas or new year (I don't recall), they had boxes upon boxes of pears that they were selling for approx $5. There were maybe a dozen in the box. I mean it was outrageously cheap. The pears were ready to eat the day or 2 before, but for the next 2 days we ate nothing but pears. So good. At that price, it wasn't even a "waste" to throw them in the juicer or make baby food.

                            2. re: LNG212

                              I have gone to the outlet in Flemmington. I'm not sure where they are otherwise located. They probably list their locations online.

                              1. re: Tay

                                They definitely do. Though they run "specials" if you buy multiples and some things are somewhat discounted, it's still not a big bargain, but if you sign up for their "frequent buyer's club," they send coupons.


                                1. re: Shayna Madel

                                  Shayna Madel
                                  I figured they would. I was just too lazy to look, :-} Thanks!
                                  I have found another place from which to order excellent pears,
                                  so I'm going with them this year. I just hope they are deliver on time.

                          2. i like harry and david. but like some of the other posters, i go to their outlet store. some of their products are bad and expensive but the worthwhile ones are very good and expensive. so i stick with the ones i like. not too much deviation from that. snack mixes are good, jams are good too. i like their pancake mix to keep for emergencies. but THE REAL REASON I GO THERE IS 'HOT ROCKS' i love them. ready spice mix. use it for most of my cooking. really really good.

                            1. I dislike all gift baskets indiscriminately. Maybe there are some good ones, but not in my experience. I agree the pears are heavenly.

                              1. Where do you live, that you think H&D pears are good? The ones they sent me were as hard and tasteless as rocks. Here in Northern CA, we can get a variety of really wonderful pears for a fraction of the H&D price.

                                I do like their chocolate truffles, though.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Claudette

                                  I had the same experience... Once.
                                  Seems they ship the pears hard.They also include very specific instructions for finishing the ripening process. Once I stopped being stubborn and started following the instructions, I discovered the pears, when ripened correctly, are 2 steps past delicious.

                                  1. re: Tay

                                    Some famous guy once said that pears have a shelf life of 3 hours...

                                2. I love the Moose Munch, but never buy it at full price. Gotfruit.com went over very well with my grandparents for their 'fruit of the month' club. The price was right too.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: diablo

                                    Moose Munch and the pears are worth it, but as others have stated, the rest is hit-or-miss. We usually get them as corporate gifts, so the price is right, but on my dime, there are a lot better gifts.

                                  2. The best lesson from this is to not respond to internet advertising! I'm sure there are some responsible advertisers. I just don't know who they are.

                                    1. Took the free factory tour at their headquarters in Medford Oregon and I have to say I have a hard time hating them after that. My son liked looking down at the vats of chocolate and watching other parts of the candymaking process. The women decorating the boxes seemed to be having a pretty good time -- considering. The chocolates at the end of the tour were tasty, too. It was February, so we didn't taste the fruit, but the orchards were attractive.

                                      HOWEVER, the idea of sending a few perfect fruits across the country seems dubious. And all that packaging, while pretty, is wasteful.

                                      Nice people. though.

                                      1. I have to agree with several others here and say that I'm a fan of H&D. They deliver promptly, their packaging is great, and most of the things I've had from them are pretty good. Is it haute cuisine? Of course not. But I don't think anyone realistically expects them to be that.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Suzy Q

                                          They're not the saviors of the world, but (a) they allow me and my office manager to send thank you gifts to referral sources without lots of leg-work and (b) while I can, if I make the time, go to my local famer's market, and get the local, in-season organic produce that's too ripe to ship to a store, my 82 year-old father in Northern Ohio isn't about to do so in January, so if I can arrange for him for some extra dollars, to get really picture perfect (even the "seconds" are, really) fruit which arrives at his door, month after month, what's not to like?

                                        2. I think their products are way over rated. I get better fruit at the Stop & Shop, and their's isn't that good. I definately could live withoput H & D!
                                          Merry Christmas,

                                          1. To be honest, I always get my H&D from TJ MAxx or the outlet store. Never ordered from the catalog.

                                            Someone sent me the cheesecake bites one year and they were good.

                                            1. Ok guys, with the exception of the argument that it's an easy business maneuver, I just simply don't get it. Since so many of you seem to like this stuff I stayed dh's hand as he stalked to work with this drek and tried: dk chocolate truffles, blueberry chocolates and chocolate cashews. And I have to say, I still think they're all terrible. Sure, we can agree to disagree, but all this stuff is available from TJ's and it's far better from there, as well as being an affordable price. The blueberries are *scary* -- why'd they paint them with a sickly blue color?! Ick. The cashews are tasteless, the chocolate too sweet. And the truffles -- I'm sorry but those things are just plain *bad*.

                                              For out of this world mail-order chocolates try burdick: http://www.burdickchocolate.com/
                                              These are one of those products that's so good you just don't care about the price. But frankly, I can't imagine it's too far different from D&H, though there isn't the diversity of offering there I suppose. For corporate gifts, would a box of their mice work I wonder?

                                              1. I used to have a nearby H&D outlet store so tried a lot of this and that. The jars of hot-sweet pepper relish are good with meatloaf. The Oregold peach jam is good on hot biscuits. I can't think of anything else that was memorable except of course for Royal Riviera pears which are perfection. As far as I'm concerned they could stick to pears. BTW this year somebody sent us a gift package of Wolfermann's English muffins so I googled them and noticed some good deals. I may become a customer for occasional gift-sending.

                                                1. I decided long ago that if I wanted to have a high profit margin, I would sell gift baskets. It's all about tiny packages of jam and crackers (and the occasional preserved meat product) in a basket full of plastic grass, wrapped up in celophane. Very impressive to look at, but unimpressive once removed from the packaging.

                                                  H&D has very cute boxes; I put the ones I received to work organizing my stuff. That moose munch or whatever it's called isn't bad -- but the price is outrageous!

                                                  I think Consumer Reports rated them one of the best outlet shops. Hmm.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: willownt

                                                    I agree -- H&D make it very easy to send to the same people every year. My only beef (if you'll pardon the expression) that I have with them is that when they ship your gift, they also enclose their catalog, so the recipient can SEE how much you spent.

                                                    My uncle is a "brother" in a religious order, and he lives with a group of other brothers on the college campus where they all teach. The other families always send candy and cookies and other goodies, but when my H&D package arrives every year, my uncle gets no peace until it is opened up and shared. Im just glad I can send them something healthy to snack on, and they ALL write to thank me. Priceless!

                                                  2. Report back about troutcreekorchard.com The box arrived incredibly speedily; no problem in time for Xmas (H & D couldn't/wouldn't without a huge speed-charge). The pears are definitely not as pretty as H & D's. And its possible the skins were a titch harder. But the insides were exactly as juicy and delicious. And the whole thing was $30 shipped, and shipped faster too. A good deal I think, relatively, for someone for whom the appearance of perfection isn't quite as important.

                                                    1. H&D also make shipping claims (We will positively get it there before Christmas) that they can't meet. I had a present show up 3 days after Christmas last year -- very dissapointing and embarrasing. They did refund the cost of shipping. . . but, still.

                                                      1. Love that Moose Munch, especially the white chocolate cranberry. Target was carrying it over the holidays.

                                                        1. No, you're not. Every year dear friends send me the pears, which usually are bruised & this year had mold on the stem ends. Only 1 was good, so they magnanimously offered me a new order in Feb.! Last year only 2 were damaged & they sent me a $5 coupon for an order! I haven't the heart to tell my friends their gift isn't worth the huge price they're paying, but I won't let H&D get away with it. I can buy the same or better pears at Wegman's.

                                                          1. i buy this pepper and onion relish at an h&d outlet, getting volume discount for buying several. everyone is addicted to it -- even those who don't like bell peppers. useful as a salsa, dip, sandwich spread, ingredient...

                                                            1. Got my replacement box & they are just as bad as the original! Brown spots & moldy stems! I hate H&D!

                                                              1. I have the exact experience as the OP. Every year we get a "tower" from a family member. The pears are wonderful. Everything else is just, mehh.

                                                                1. I just received a box of Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears, “America’s Finest and Rarest" as stated in large text on the box top. “Yum!” I thought, “fresh pears!” I quickly opened the box and grabbed one. “What the heck?” I said, “This thing is rock hard!” After looking at the box the pears came in closer I discovered something confusing.
                                                                  A sticker that says “Contents Fresh Pears, Origin Chile”. Wait a minute, I thought these were America’s Finest and Rarest? It appears to keep the pears coming year round H&D is now getting their fruit from Chile and Argentina. Wasting fuel and polluting the environment just so we can have substandard fruit all year long.

                                                                  I hate deceptive marketing! If I wanted pears from Chile, I would just get some from Safeway! What a disappointment!! Never again!!!

                                                                  1. We got the pears one year for Christmas and they were quite gorgeous, but since we live in northern California in what was called "Blossom Valley" before it became Silicon Valley, there's no shortage of wonderful fruit here, lots of it in backyards of houses built where there were orchards even 25 years ago. The rest of the stuff they send strikes me as utterly weird, and we generally just throw it out, which I hate to do, but I won't give stuff to food banks or charities that I wouldn't eat myself.

                                                                    1. We live near a H & D outlet and I made the mistake of buying most of my son's easter candy there last year. (I had not had much H & D experience prior to this.) He's not real big on chocolate so I bought stuff like lollipops, gummi eggs etc. The stuff looked very pretty but was not only very expensive, it was almost all totally tasteless as well. Not to mention that some of it was stale.We ended up throwing most of it away. Never again. (And I don't like Moose Munch at all - I find it to be unbearably sweet.)

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                                                        I do like the chocolate covered bing cherries but I think they had trans fats lurking in there so I was disappointed. The other items were not very good in my opinion.

                                                                      2. It's three months after Christmas and I was poking around the office kitchen, hoping to find a magically appearing bag of pretzels or something when I ran across the remnants of the giant tower the office had received as a gift.

                                                                        Creme Brulee hot chocolate
                                                                        Raspberry and Dark Chocolate hot chocolate
                                                                        Caramel hot chocolate
                                                                        Peppermint & White Chocolate hot chocolate

                                                                        You can't imagine how gross these flavors are.

                                                                        A co-worker wanted to donate them; I refused, no one should have to consume this crap. We'll just add some better things the next time we do an office food drive contribution.

                                                                        1. Is there a polite way to tell someone not to give us the H&D Fruit of the Month Club again? The fruit's mediocre and in the winter it gets frozen. It's not worth our postman's efforts to get it to us without being frozen or cooked. And they shipped NY State apples from Oregon to the Hudson Valley! What a waste of energy.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: fran124

                                                                            I am a big fan of H@D.......their Moose Munch coffee is awesome!

                                                                            1. re: fran124

                                                                              Tell them it's a lovely gesture fruit gives you gastrointestonal illness. I bet they won't ask questions or give you more fruit.

                                                                              1. re: Paul Weller

                                                                                That's a terrible lie to tell someone. I hope your suggestion was meant in the hope of humor?

                                                                                And as a matter of fact, while I'm not a fan of their dry goods, their Royal Riviera pears are unbelievably good. They always arrive with some at the perfect peak of ripeness, with the rest on their way. Have received them at all times of the year & have yet to receive any "frozen" or "cooked". There's no comparison with supermarket fruit, & I don't care how "fruit savvy" you are.

                                                                                A couple of their pears along with a chunk of Stilton cheese & a nice glass of Port? Heaven.

                                                                            2. Harry & David emerged from bankruptcy in 2011 and is now also in the wine business...


                                                                              They send me catalogs but I've never ordered their over- priced "goods" .

                                                                              1. I don't hate Harry, but I've always thought David is nothing but a little punk.

                                                                                1. Could be totally off base, but I always thought H&D was like the Omaha Steaks of fruit/gift baskets. I've never ordered from them, nor tasted any of their products, but they always seemed to me to be a popular-yet-mediocre-appeals-to-the-masses company. It's nice that they can package a wide variety of items in a delivery, but I'd prefer to purchase each type of item (fruit/chocolate/etc.) from a purveyor who specializes in it.

                                                                                  1. In October I paid extra for exact day delivery. On the day of delivery no package arrived; I called; they told me their inventory management system had changed the date to a week later and the system did not notify customers.They were sorry, it was "how their software worked."
                                                                                    Amazing they are still in business.