Q: What’s the history of your farm?
A: My great grandfather purchased the land in 1917 and he raised cattle. It wasn’t until 1955 that he and my grandfather planted their first pear orchard. I started working in the orchard during the summer when I was 10 or 12 years old, and by the time I turned 15 I was almost working full time during the summer months, and here I am today, 39 years later. My son also helps on the farm today.
Q: What makes your farm unique?
A: Our orchard is in West Valley on a slope with Northern exposure where the temperatures are cooler and the soil is deep. In our growing region pear trees produce a smaller sized pear that’s ideal for canning, about 2-1/4 inches in diameter across the widest part of the pear. My pears are all canned.
Q: How many acres and what pear varieties do you grow?
A: Pears represent 75% of the tree fruit that we grow, on 150 acres. Two-thirds of our pears are Bartletts and the other third is the Anjou variety. We’ve been growing these same two varieties since 1955. We’ve experimented with other varieties, but these are the varieties that thrive on our land.
Q: What do you look for when you walk through your pear orchard?
A: I walk through our orchards, all year long, looking at the vigor of our pear trees, and it takes time before it becomes second nature to “know” when something’s not right and also to see when something is perfect. We watch for pests and blight early in the season and then once the fruit sets, we keep an eye on how the fruit is ripening. Of course, unexpected weather changes, such as cold snaps, prompt growers to inspect their trees as needed.