Pears are Oregon’s official State Fruit, and Oregon ranks second
in the nation in pear production. 84% of the US fresh pear crop
comes from the Pacific Northwest due to the region’s unique climate.
Volcanic soil, abundant water, warm days and cool nights combine to
create the perfect conditions for growing the varieties of pears
found in Oregon, whose principal growing regions are in Hood River
Valley in north central Oregon and Rogue River Valley in
Oregon’s warm August days help the pears grow plump and juicy,
and when the full August moon fills the clear summer skies, it
usually means that pear harvest has begun in the orchards. Pears are
a unique fruit in that they do not ripen well on the tree. Pears are
harvested as mature fruit, but ripened off the tree. If the fruit
you buy in the store is not ripe, the ripening process is simple,
and requires only a few days at room temperature—either in a paper
bag, or in a bowl on the counter. Once ripe, pears can be
refrigerated so that they will stay firm and ready-to-eat.
How do you know when the time is right to eat? Many varieties of
pears do not change color as they ripen. To judge ripeness, simply
“check the neck.” Apply gentle pressure on the neck of the pear at
the stem end with your thumb. If it yields slightly, the pear is
ripe and ready to eat. Because pears ripen from the inside out,
pressing near the stem is the best way to test for maximum juice and
sugar. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle, it may
be overripe inside. So, remember to “check the neck” for ripeness!
Each variety of pear grown in Oregon has its own flavor and
texture, so be sure to try them all: Green and Red Anjou, Green and
Red Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel, and
Starkrimson provide versatile options for snacking, baking,
poaching, salads, and more. Plus, pears pack a powerful punch of
nutrition: one medium sized pear provides 24% of the recommended
daily allowance of fiber, 10% of your day’s vitamin C, and 6% of
your day’s potassium, all for only 100 calories.
Northwest Pear Bureau -