Spring 2022
Enter the CAN DO Challenge for a Chance to Win Cash Prizes!
Send us a photo and description of your winning recipe(s) for anything from smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and entrées, to snacks and desserts that feature U.S. grown canned Bartlett pears. The contest is open to chefs, directors, managers, and RDs from K-12, C&U, B&I, Healthcare, and Military foodservice operations. Enter for a chance to win one of three cash prizes: $1,500, $1,000, and $500. The deadline to enter is April 30, 2022.

Meet a Grower
Eric Olson, Yakima WA
Q: ·     How did you get started in the pear business?

A: My dad bought a 36-acre ranch in the Yakima Valley a month after I was born. After military service, my wife and I took over the ranch in 1976. We replanted trees and also started a honey bee pollination business. Once we got settled there, we purchased a 600 acre ranch about three miles from the home ranch.

Q: What pear varieties do you grow?

A: We grow Bartlett and Bosc pears on about 80 acres. We grow the Bartlett pears for the canned pear market, and we grow Bosc pears for pollination and also for the fresh pear market. We also grow 132 acres of cherries. I love growing pears and cherries.

Q: How do you plant your orchard for yield and to manage pollination?

A: My preferred planting is in a pattern of four rows of Bartlett and two of Bosc trees, and I learned over the years that with high density planting, the bees will not go across rows, they go up and down the rows, which is more efficient. High density planting makes it much easier to manage the work in the orchard more efficiently, and we are able to start picking when the trees are 3 to 4 years old.

Q: What about bees?

A: My wife and I built up our honey bee pollination business to 18,000 hives before we sold it, so we learned a lot about bees and really enjoyed it. One in three of the plant foods that we eat are pollinated, and bees are particular about pollen. With pears, the blooms come out gradually, which allows a longer window for pollination, but bees are particular about the pollen. For pears, when the pollen grains are a pinkish-purple color, the bees won’t touch it. But when the pollen grains turn tan the bees just go crazy. When the pollen turns dark brown the bees won’t touch it. Luckily pear blooms come out gradually, which allows a longer window to pollinate. Some crops are easy to pollinate and some are hard. Bing cherries, for example, are really hard to pollinate, and require more hives to do the job.
Chances are that you’ve got U.S. grown canned Bartlett pears in your pantry. One way to reveal more of their flavor and add appeal to recipes is with a simple cooking technique. Roasting canned pears at 400 degrees F caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugars and adds a flavor pop to savory and sweet recipes. Caramelized canned pears can be prepped in advance of salad assembly. Many of the ingredients in our Roasted Pear Salad with Chicken & Cheddar are USDA Foods available for schools.
Order NEW Bookmarks!

Canned Bartlett pears from the Pacific Northwest give students the fuel they need to learn and play! These colorful bookmarks support reading and the maze is perfect when kids are ready for a break.

They are free; one per student please.

Canned Pears on Sandwich Menus

Creative sandwiches strike a balance between craveable and healthy, innovative and familiar. Layering recipe-ready U.S. grown canned Bartlett pears into sandwiches adds a touch of sweetness that complements savory and spicy flavors from around the globe.

Check Out These 3 Sandwiches:
Don't Accept Imposters

Check the label to be sure you get “USA” pears, which means you can be proud to serve fruit that’s grown and processed in the Pacific Northwest. U.S. Department of Agriculture grade standards not only ensure quality, product integrity, and safety – they support local agriculture.
Take a virtual trip to pear country and hear growers and canners tell their story about U.S. grown canned Bartlett pears.