I’m Richard Elliot, a fifth-generation pear farmer in Courtland, California. Pears…to our family, they’re more than fruit. They’re a way of life…and have been for more than four generations.
I’ve lived on the same stretch of road my entire life. I feel a deep connection to the land we cultivate, and the pears we produce. We not only work here, we live here…and farming is a way of life for us.
I love that I get to work alongside my mom, Bonnie as well as my wife, Becky and our children, Rich Jr., Ryan, and Rachel.
In 1860 my ancestor, David Osbourne, came to the Sacramento River Delta from Nova Scotia in search of gold. Instead, he found the rich soil of the Delta and the ideal growing conditions for growing pears—so he sent to France for pear trees and the orchard began.
This first generation of growers were true pioneers – they created something amazing out of nothing. Everything from planting to harvesting was done with horse-drawn plows and trailers. And the pears were shipped on steamboats or by train.
Today our harvesting technology has changed – we’ve gone from horses to tractors, but the one thing that remains the same is the picking of each pear is still done by hand.
We believe in sustainable farming practices, from water usage, to waste management, recycling and integrated pest management. We take a long-term approach to pest management while keeping the environment and ecosystem in mind.
And our water usage is managed through a highly-effective water filtration system in the ground. Whatever water is pulled from the river and not used, filters into canals and is then reused for irrigation or pumped back into the river.
Tree Top has been around for a long time just like we have. Our partnership with Tree Top works great. And we have a wonderful Tree Top field rep who is knowledgeable about the pear industry and makes our job easy. With Tree Top, we know our fruit is going to be taken care of and that’s why we grow for them.
We’re very mindful of the products our pears are used for and dedicated to maintaining our agricultural handling processes and adhering to food safety standards, because we know our pears will be consumed by people’s loved ones, young and old.