Raise a Glass to the Pear!

With summer upon us, the pear trees in the Northwest are growing heavy with fruit to be harvested when the weather begins to turn cool again. I’m eagerly anticipating the new season’s crop—I can’t wait to sink my teeth into a brilliant red Starkrimson or a sweet, juicy Bartlett.

As we’re enjoying the last Green Anjou pears in the market, I thought it would be fun to bring you a few ways you can enjoy Oregon pears when they’re not in season. Hint: In liquid form.

Inventive vintners, distillers, and even soda makers across the Pacific Northwest have taken the unique, enticing flavor of the pear to create delicious beverages so you can enjoy pears year-round. Here are a few of my favorites:

Hoodsport Pear Wine
This wine, made from Washington pears, is light, crisp, and sweet. As the website suggests, it complements chicken, seafood, and white sauce pasta dishes. For a decadent yet light dessert, try poaching fresh pears in pear wine – it takes the flavor to a whole new level.

Clear Creek Distillery Pear Brandy
Clear Creek is world-renowned for this brandy. It is made from Bartlett pears grown in the Mid-Columbia region in Oregon. They also sell the brandy with the pear in the bottle—a truly impressive (and labor-intensive) feat.

Hot Lips Pear Soda
Comice pears give this pear soda a sweet, buttery flavor. Made from Oregon pears, Hot Lips soda is refreshing, light, and tasty. It makes an excellent float with a scoop or two of sorbet. Or add it to one of the above for a pear-fect cocktail!

Thirsty for more? Check out our cocktail guide and our pear beverage section for pear garnishes, recipes, and trade tips. Cheers!

Pear Bowl 2010

Last Friday, the Cashmere Bulldogs faced off against the Cascade Kodiaks of Leavenworth in the 40th annual Pear Bowl. The rivalry takes place in the heart of our pear growing regions in central Washington, where the teams are friendly, but the competition is fierce!

Cashmere continued its winning streak this year, defeating the Kodiaks 35-6 and clinching the title for the fourth consecutive year. Bosco joined the team mascots and cheerleading squads to rally the crowds with fleece USA Pears hats and plush Pear Buddies.

After the game, Leavenworth Echo Sports Editor Ian Dunn chose the Pear of the Game. This year, the Pear of the Game players were Cascade senior wide receiver Ethan Nash and Cashmere quarterback Tyler McNair. Congratulations!

Growing Regions: Yakima

We’re still waiting—very, very patiently—for this season’s fresh pear harvest to start. USA Pears should be popping up on supermarket shelves in the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into a juicy, sweet Bartlett!

In the meantime, let’s take a look at another of our fertile growing regions: Yakima. Like many of our growing regions, the Yakima Valley is known for its rich soil, mild climate, and open spaces, which combine to make the valley a perfect location to grow beautiful USA Pears, along with asparagus, cherries, apples, pumpkins, and dozens of other delicious fruits and vegetables.

Oh, and let’s not forget the wine! Yakima is home to many local, award-winning wineries. The valley lies in the same latitude as France’s famous vineyards, making for the perfect birthplace of great wine varietals. It’s a great place to keep in mind if you’re looking for a girls’ weekend getaway!

Want to learn more about this enticing region? Check out www.visityakima.com for more information.

To learn more about the growers who bring fresh pears to your table, click on the video below!

Growing Regions: Wenatchee

The last of the 2009–10 pear crop is on grocery shelves, but at Pear Bureau Northwest, we’re already gearing up for a new season of fresh USA Pears!  Our four growing regions are eagerly anticipating the fresh pears they’ll be harvesting in just a few weeks.

In the meantime, we’d like to introduce you to the rich, fertile growing regions that produce USA Pears.

First up: Wenatchee, Washington. The Wenatchee Valley is nestled in the heart of Washington state, with Seattle a few hours to the west and Spokane a few hours east. The valley is known for its abundance of tree fruit orchards (pears, apples, and cherries) and local wineries. The Columbia River flows nearby, providing ample opportunities to fish, raft, and hike along its banks. Wenatchee is a great place to get away for a weekend—you’ll find everything from antique stores to local art galleries!

Visit the Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau website to learn more about the Wenatchee Valley, including how many days of sunshine you can expect in the area (you’d be surprised).

Check out the videos below to meet some of our growers from the Wenatchee area!

Pears + Olympic Skier Torin Koos

torin-koos_trondheim

USA Pears is proud sponsor of Torin Koos, a two-time Olympian who grew up in Leavenworth, Washington.   For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, Leavenworth is located about 20 miles northwest of Wenatchee, in the heart of this major pear-producing region.  Check out some of Torin’s stats, and look for more about this pear-loving athlete as he trains for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics!