Like the fruit itself and the landscapes on which the trees sit, the people who grow pears come in a wide variety of sorts, from all kinds of backgrounds. Some growers were born to be fourth-generation farmers, while others stumbled into orchard life much later. There are growers for whom the many hats they wear make the job fun, and ones who work hard in the summer to spend those slow winter months with their families. But what all of them share is a passion for growing the best pears possible, whether that’s continuing the tradition of heirloom varieties from a century ago or using the newest technology to prune a pear tree that grows more fruit, more efficiently.
More than 800 growers work the land in Washington and Oregon, producing around 87% of the fresh pears grown in the United States. As they prune, pick, and pack, the pear growers of the Northwest bring their backgrounds in science, teaching, agriculture, and office work to the mission of producing better fruit, each contributing unique attributes and information to the collective goal of producing the world’s best pears.