When are pears in season?
Our Bartlett pear season runs from mid August through early December or until sold out.
How can I tell when a pear is ripe?
This question needs a little background information first to make sense. As a Bartlett pear matures and swells in early August their internal pressure drops about 1/8 psi per day. A Bartlett pear is best when picked with the internal pressure is between 18 psi.and 16 psi. When picked, the fruit is still green and relatively hard. A Bartlett pear ripens from the time picked in about 7 to 10 days when placed in a dry, shady area. As the pear ripens it will slowly turn to a soft yellow and yield to gentle pressure. The time to ripen can be extended significantly by immediately putting a just picked pear in cold storage at 30 degrees Fahrenheit at high humidity. This in effect puts the pear ‘to sleep’ and its life can be extended up to four months. A properly picked pear will not freeze even at 30 degrees because of the high natural sugar content.
If a Bartlett pear is picked too late by allowing it to stay on the tree past an internal pressure of say12 psi., the pear will take on an unsatisfactory mealy texture and the center of the pear will be mush before the outside ripens.
If picked too soon a pear will lack proper sugar content for sweetness and be ‘dry’ because it didn’t have enough time to mature and absorb moisture.
A properly ripened pear is a beautiful thing only if it was picked at the proper time.
Can I u-pick pears?
You are welcome to come to our orchard and we would be happy to show you around. But unless you happen to come during the three days the fruit is at its prime and we are picking, you may be disappointed in the results of your u-pick effort.
What is organic farming?
Prior to earning our WSDA organic producer certificate, we had successfully grown Bartlett pears conventionally for over 20 years using all the chemicals legally available at the time. Our decision in 1999 to switch to organic farming was our commitment to grow the finest pears possible without the use of any man made fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Contrary to popular opinion, organic farming does not mean simply abandoning the orchard to Nature. Organic farming requires close monitoring, understanding and seemingly continuous applications of mild summer oils, pheromone disruption and mechanically removing vegetation under the trees to leave as much water for the trees as possible. Pears love water.
As another example of what it means to grow pears organically, hornets are carnivorous and will eat coddling moth larva. The coddling moth is the worm which does great damage to pears. So now instead of trapping hornets as pests we understand their usefulness keeping a balance in the orchard.
For more information about organic farming, we recommend your looking at the following link:
Organic farming rules (State of Washington)
What is that long skinny red thing hanging from the pear branch in the center of the picture?
This is a pheromone dispenser. We place two of these dispensers in the top of each tree. Mating disruption works by flooding the entire orchard area with very large quantities of the natural sex pheromone scent of the codling moth. Male moths are distracted by false scent trails and cannot locate the females. When populations of moths are low, the males simply never find the females.
In higher density situations, males may eventually find the females but by that time, the female has used up most of her eggs as an energy source. Hence few if any fertile eggs are laid and the worms that attack the pears are reduced or eliminated altogether. Pheromone mating disruption can be regarded as birth control for moths.