Flair with the Pear!

Our Pear Panache program recognizes top chefs from around the country for their innovative flair with pears! Try our award-winning chefs' featured recipes in your own kitchen!

Printer Friendly Version


Spring is almost here, and our orchards will soon be in bloom!

Beehives are a common sight in pear orchards come springtime!

The Best Pears Grow in the Pacific Northwest

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.

Find Out More About:

  • Growing Regions
  • In the Orchard
  • From Field to Grocery Store
  • Organic Pears
  • Questions?
  • USA Pear Growing Regions

    Inside Oregon and Washington there arefour growing regions where all the conditions are met for producing the world's finest fresh-quality pears.

    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.

    Back to Top

    In the Orchard
    Not all pear orchards are cultivated alike. The traditional method of planting trees in evenly spaced orchard rows is still the most common, but new techniques are employed to enhance acreage production and yields. Among these is a trellis system, where pear trees are trained across a large trellis much like grapes. Another version of this technique is the V-trellis, which allows trees to grow at two diverging angles. The advantages of these new systems are that they increase tree density, while at the same time maximizing light exposure into the tree to help fruit productivity.

    Back to Top

    From Field to Grocery Store
    Harvest - Harvest of USA Pears begins in August with Bartletts and continues through September and October with winter varieties. Pears are harvested when the fruit is fully mature, but not yet ripe. This keeps the fruit's flavor at a peak and the soft flesh from becoming gritty with deposits of lignin and other organic compounds. Pickers carefully harvest every pear by hand, and place them into special orchard bins to prevent bruising.

    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.

    Back to Top

    Organic Pears
    Organic pears are cultivated in increasing numbers within our growing regions. Organic orchards adhere to specific growing and cultivation requirements, resulting in another fresh USA Pear choice for consumers who desire organic fruit. Organic pears are produced in accordance with strict USDA organic regulations that only allow approved substances for control of pests and to replenish soil nutrients. The Northwest's fertile ecosystem reduces many difficulties of organic farming, however, production techniques for organic fruit are often more labor-intensive and costly. Still, the Northwest is proud to be one of the world's largest organic pear producing regions, giving consumers another fresh choice when buying USA Pears.

    Back to Top

    Have Questions?
    We've gathered a comprehensive FAQ on pears. However, for advice about pear trees in your own yard, the best source is usually local. A local tree nursery or your county's Agricultural Extension Agent will usually be your best source. We'd love to hear from you though, and gladly respond to every message received.

    Back to Top


      Images and content Copyright 1996-2008 Pear Bureau Northwest, All rights reserved.
    Pear Bureau Northwest Privacy Disclosure Statement