State Fruit

Celebrate the Pear

Anjou, Bartlett, Comice, Delicious, El Dorado, Forelle, Gorham, Highland ...

Pears and their distinctive names go far into the alphabet and still hold their flavor.

Pears, fittingly, are now the State Fruit of Oregon.

This is cause for celebration in Hood River County, the premier fruit region of Oregon.

Thanks go out to Rep. Patti Smith and Sen. Rick Metsger for their efforts at the Legislature to enact the State Fruit bill signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski last week.

This month the state Department of Agriculture announced that pears had moved up a spot, from 10th to 9th, among the top farm and ranch commodities in Oregon. Pears, with a $76 million value, traded places with onions, at $74 million. (Tops is greenhouse and nursery products at $817 million, followed by cattle and calves ($503 million), hay ($381 million), milk ($363 million), grass seed ($350 million), wheat ($201 million), Christmas trees ($142 million) and potatoes ($91 million).

The Northwest Pear Bureau argued successfully that designating the pear as the state fruit will help Oregon’s 370 pear growers in the Gorge and the Rogue River Valley.

Thanks, also, to the Hood River Grower-Shipper Association and its members for traveling to Salem this spring to lobby for the pear designation.

Congratulations should go to all Hood River pear orchardists. Most of them are too busy this time of year to read much so in case they miss this, congratulate them yourselves when you head out to one of the local orchards to buy home-grown fruit.

You’ll see folks such as Randy Kiyokawa of Parkdale, Craig McCurdy of Hood River, Mike Oates of Odell and Camille Hukari of Pine Grove — to name a geographically-select few — in and around the orchards and fruit stands, and at community events. The people who grow the pears here are your neighbors, and the golden, green and red splendor is the bounty they share with us all.

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