Pears have historically been a favorite fruit for enjoyment long after harvest. In fact–with the exception of Asian pear varieties–pears typically need to be picked well in advance of full ripeness in order to minimize the development of the gritty “stone cells,” which can give pears a distinctly grainy texture.
Under ideal conditions, the pears will be harvested prior to full ripeness, then allowed to gradually “mellow” under refrigeration, gradually reaching the idea of softness and sweetness. Because pears, like peaches, become extremely fragile as they approach full ripeness, we tend to bring them to market prior to reaching full ripeness.
Once you bring your pears home from market, you can let them rest on the countertop for a few days prior to eating, or you can store them in the refrigeration to slow the process.
Asian pears like to be treated more like apples, and they want to be refrigerated until they are eaten.