The same fertile soils, mild climate, and cool nights of the Northwest that produce such prime pear growing conditions also make it possible for growers in the region to adhere to the USDA’s organic regulations and grow their fruit without the use of conventional methods and without compromising on quality.
As more people look to integrate organic produce into their lives, growers in the region have embraced the extra labor and diligence required to keep up the high standard of the region’s pears with a limited toolkit. It requires a lot more work to keep an organic orchard weeded, the pests away from the fruit, and the soil full of necessary nutrients, but it’s a unique commitment that many pear folks are happy to make—so many that the Northwest is now one of the world’s largest organic pear growing regions.
Like the consumer who will eventually enjoy the pears, some pear growers are philosophically committed to growing organic pears and it drives them to find the best ways to manage their soil conditions and increase the orchard’s biodiversity—two keys to growing better organic pears. And that organic mentality goes from the seed to the table, as even the packing materials for organic pears are limited to meet the certification requirements. The attention to detail to adhere to the specific limitations, maximizing soil quality, and the careful planning that organic pears require become just another piece of the puzzle that’s always on the mind of Northwest pear growers: how to grow the best possible pear.
The result is a bounty of organic pears that not only meet the strict national standards for organic certification, but also the high-quality expectations for Northwest pears—and the growing demand for more organic pears.