How to choose: The best perfectly ripened Bartlett pears will be golden and fragrant and will have a slight softness at the neck. Don't worry if the fruit shows some russeting -- that's only skin-deep and doesn't affect the flavor.
How to store: Pears will continue to ripen off the tree (indeed, they really have to ripen off the tree to avoid a woody texture). So if your pears are a little green and firm, just leave them at room temperature and they'll finish up nicely. Then you can refrigerate them.
How to prepare: There's probably no finer fall dessert than a cheese board augmented with well-ripened Bartlett pears and new-crop walnuts. If you want to get really fancy, include a small bowl of a bitter honey.