Dat­ing back to the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush, Cal­i­for­nia pear farm­ers have a his­tory of a com­mit­ment to safe, sus­tain­able and healthy farm­ing.

Pear orchards in Cal­i­for­nia are some of the old­est on record to still be pro­duc­ing com­mer­cially. A 2011 assess­ment reveals the aver­age age of a Cal­i­for­nia pear orchard ranges between 33 and 100 years old,. Some of the old­est plant­i­ngs date back to the 1840’s.

Many of today’s pear farm­ers are still farm­ing orchards handed down to them by their grand­par­ents or great-​grandparents and most hope to pass their farms on to their own chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Mod­ern com­mer­cial pear farm­ing is an extremely com­pet­i­tive busi­ness. Mar­ginal prices, some­times below the cost of pro­duc­tion, have taken a toll on the num­ber of pear farm­ers who remain in busi­ness. Where once the state had over 300 pear farm­ers, today there are just 60. Those who are left must use their resources wisely. They’ve learned to band together to fund mar­ket­ing pro­grams and con­duct impor­tant research nec­es­sary to thrive and pros­per.

Today’s Cal­i­for­nia pear farmer per­fectly fits the model of the “ideal farmer” that today’s con­scious con­sumer is look­ing for. Grow­ing and har­vest­ing fruit is basi­cally done in the same way as gen­er­a­tions before them farmed, only adding new tech­nolo­gies to reduce pes­ti­cide use and pre­serve the envi­ron­ment. They are mostly small, non-​corporate, family-​owned busi­nesses, who care and sup­port the peo­ple in their close-​knit communities.

If the Cal­i­for­nia pear indus­try were ulti­mately not to sur­vive, it would be a sig­nifi­cant loss for the rural com­mu­ni­ties where they farm. Con­sumers who enjoy the fruits of their labor would be dis­ap­pointed at their loss.

These sixty fam­ily farms sig­nifi­cantly rep­re­sent a large por­tion of the pears pro­duced in the United States dur­ing sum­mer.

Pear grow­ing regions are arguably in some of the most beau­ti­ful places in the entire Golden State. The beauty of his­toric pear orchards con­tribute to the appeal of com­mu­ni­ties such as Court­land and Clarks­burg located in the Sacra­mento River Delta grow­ing region; Lake­port and Kelseyville in the Lake County pear grow­ing dis­trict; and Ukiah in the Men­do­cino grow­ing dis­trict.

Cal­i­for­nia pears are the first to har­vest in the United States every year. In early July sun-​kissed pears begin their jour­ney from fam­ily farms to local.

With a wide range of vari­eties to sat­isfy a full spec­trum of pref­er­ences, tastes and uses, there is a good eat­ing pear for every­one.

Pear farm­ers take care to pick pears at a point when they have plenty of sugar, but they’re still green. Bartlett pears actu­ally won’t ripen on the tree, which means they can be shipped with­out dam­ag­ing the fruit. Once you bring home a Cal­i­for­nia pear, expect to enjoy a ripened juicy pear within a few days.

Pears are a cli­mac­tic fruit just like bananas, toma­toes and avo­ca­dos. Ripen­ing enhances all of these fruits in fla­vor. The beauty of pears is more than skin deep. They sat­isfy us nutri­tion­ally, versatility-​wise and par­tic­u­larly edibly.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.