- The Pacific Northwest’s fresh pear production is the largest in the United States.
- In the Pacific Northwest, pear production ranks number two (only behind apples).
- Combined annual pear production for the Pacific Northwest averages more than 650,000 tons.
- About a quarter of the overall pear crop goes to the canning industry.
- Most processed pears are Red and Yellow Bartletts, with 67% of this variety used for the canning and processing industry.
- Fresh pear varieties include Yellow Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Starkrimson, Green Anjou, Red Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Seckel and Forelle.
- A pear tree takes 15 years to reach peak production.
The Pear Orchard
Winter: Rest and pruning
- Trees need many hours at cool temperatures to produce fruit buds for the next season.
- Pruning takes place while trees are resting, keeping them healthy and allowing sunlight to reach the leaves in spring.
Spring: Blossoms abound
- Pears begin to blossom and bud in April.
- A balance between hot days and cool nights during the growing season is critical.
Summer: Maturing fruit is monitored
- A series of tests determine harvest maturity of the pears.
- These tests examine the firmness of the flesh, the color and sugar content of the fruit.
- A number of pests and disease threats are monitored and handled.
Fall: Harvest by hand
- Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen successfully on the tree, so they are harvested when they are fully mature, but still “green” or unripe.
- Harvest begins in August with Bartletts and continues through September and October with winter varieties.
- Pears are picked by hand and placed into orchard bins specially designed to avoid bruising the fruit.
- Pears are immediately placed into cold storage to slow the ripening process.