Q: How did Sundquist Fruit get started in the business of growing pears?
A: My great grandfather founded our business in the mid 1920’s when he began managing 5-acre orchard tracts in the Gleed area in Yakima Country, Washington, for east coast investors. Our first pear orchard was planted in 1925, and that orchard is still in production today! At that time the orchard was interplanted with apple trees which have since been removed and replaced with pear trees. Today we farm about 425 acres of pears out of 1900 acres of tree fruit from Naches to the Pasco area. We also grow apples and sweet cherries.
Q: How long have you been growing pears?
A: I’ve been growing pears since my return to the farm in 2004. Continuing the family business was not an easy decision for me as I was torn about pursuing a career in IT. I decided to come back after an invitation was extended to me by my father’s generation. After about six years of working as a farm manager, I found a partner who helped me in our ownership transition and became president of our organization in 2010.
Q: What is it about the Pacific Northwest that makes it a good place to grow pears?
A: The Pacific Northwest is regarded globally as one of the premier fruit growing regions. Many things position our region to be a standout internationally in terms of pear growing. Our fertile volcanic soils are the perfect medium in which to grow, and the arid climate is good for fruit quality and helps to keep disease at bay. The cold winters help set fruit buds for the following seasons. Importantly, our proximity to shipping channels help us move fruit around the globe with ease not afforded to many other countries. The PNW is pear country!