River Valley Pears
Pear harvest is happening now at Stemilt, and what a beautiful harvest it has been so far. In this post, I wanted to tell you about the locales where Stemilt pears are grown, and what makes them so unique.
If you travel west or north out of Wenatchee, WA, you quickly arrive at what many farmers consider the best pear growing regions in the world. The Upper Wenatchee River Valley (first photo below), located west of Wenatchee about 20 minutes near the towns of Peshastin and Leavenworth, and the Entiat River Valley (bottom photo below), located north of Wenatchee about 30 minutes, have both been producing high quality pears for decades, and are the two locales where the majority of Stemilt’s pears come from.
Pear harvest begins each August with the Bartlett variety, with d’Anjou, Bosc, and Red pears following soon after. Both regions produce the mainline varieties of pears as well as specialty varieties like Concorde and Seckel.
The climates in both regions are very similar, as are the surroundings that make them so perfectly suited for pears. The Upper Wenatchee River Valley is located in a wider valley along the Wenatchee River, while the Entiat River Valley is a bit narrower and follows the Entiat River. Surrounding pear orchards at both locales are high, alpine peaks from the Cascade Mountain range. These peaks are covered with snow in the winter, which filters down to be used for irrigating orchards as the snowpack melts in the spring.
The real benefit of having pear orchards nestled against mountains is the cooler climate and high-quality airflow that they bring. The peaks, rivers, and higher elevations stay much cooler during the warm central Washington summers creating microclimates that are well-suited to producing different varieties of pears. Volcanic soils rich in nutrients and experienced family farmers round out the list of things that helps Stemilt consistently produce pears with world famous eating qualities.
Harvest is winding down and delicious Stemilt pears – like d’Anjou, Bosc, and Red Pears – are making the journey to your grocery stores. I hope you enjoy the new crop of pears and remember the beautiful and ideal river valleys they came from.