Spring is almost here, and our orchards will soon be in bloom!
Beehives are a common sight in pear orchards come springtime!
While it's true that pear trees will grow and produce fruit in widely varying climates, only an ideal combination of environmental conditions will keep the trees healthy and consistently bearing large volumes of high-quality fruit. Would you be surprised to learn that 84% of the nation's fresh pears are grown in Oregon and Washington? Here in the Pacific Northwest the conditions for growing pears are nearly perfect.
What's so special about this region? First we have nutrient-rich volcanic soil that provides the foundation for pear tree nourishment. Add in ample moisture in the form of rain, snow and glacial snowmelt plus the third factor, ideal temperature conditions (for a good crop of pears a balance between hot days and cool nights during the growing season is critical), and the results are the prolific USA Pear orchards of Oregon and Washington.
USA Pear Growing Regions
Wenatchee - - This region is identified by the city of Wenatchee, located in the North Central Washington growing district. Named for the "Wenatchi," a Native American tribe from the region, the word is believed to mean, "river flowing through canyons," a fitting description of the turbulent rapids of the Wenatchee River that tumbles through the surrounding canyons.
Yakima - - According to Native American tradition, the word Yakima means "Black Bear" and/or "People of the narrow river." Each year the plentiful water and rich, light, fertile soil of the beautiful Yakima Valley brings thousands of acres of USA Pear trees into bloom.
Mid-Columbia - The Columbia River flows through the Columbia Gorge as it passes through the Mid-Columbia region. This rich growing region stretches from White Salmon, Washington south to Hood River, Oregon. Here, thousands of acres of USA Pears flourish under the protective vigil of the snowcapped peaks of Mt. Adams in Washington, and Mt. Hood in Oregon.
Medford - Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley is as rich in lush, USA Pear orchards as the surrounding area is rich in history. The area around Medford and the neighboring town of Jacksonville, a designated National Historic Landmark, serves as a time capsule dating from Oregon's early pioneering days.
In the Orchard
From Field to Grocery Store
Packing - Once filled, the orchard bins are delivered to the packing houses and immediately cooled. This helps pears ripen consistently after consumer purchase. Once the pears reach the proper reduced core temperature, they are transported by water (to prevent bruising) to be sorted and separated by size and grade before being hand-packed.
Shipping - After being packed, USA Pears are stored in special storage rooms until sold. USA Pears are delivered by truck or rail to markets in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A large percentage of the crop is also shipped overseas, where USA Pears are highly regarded for their superior taste and quality. About 33% of the total USA Pear crop is exported each season.
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