By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University.
Profile revised October 2013 by Diane Huntrods, AgMRC, Iowa State University..
Photo courtesy of USDA ARS.
Commercial pear production is concentrated in the Northwest United States. Washington State and Oregon together grow around 75 percent of the nation’s total pear production, followed by California. Total U.S. production in 2012 was 858,250 tons, down from the previous year, and was valued at $437.1 million, up from 2011. (NASS 2013)
According to USDA's 2008 Organic Production Survey, the United States had 257 certified organic farms that produced 21,684 tons of pears. There were 255 farms with sales totaling $16 million.
Three basic types of pears are grown in the United States. The European or French pears include popular varieties such as Bartlett, Bosc and D’Anjou. Asian pears are also known as “apple-pears” because of their apple-like texture. Oriental hybrid varieties range from gritty in texture to dessert quality.
U.S. per capita consumption of fresh pears was 3.2 pounds in 2009. Per capita consumption of all pear products was about 7 pounds in 2010 (ERS). About 60 percent of the U.S. pear crop is sold as fresh and 40 percent is processed, primarily in the form of canned product.
The United States is a net exporter of pears. In 2012 the country exported fresh pears valued at nearly $188.7 million. In addition, the United States exported organic fresh pears valued at nearly $20.6 million. The combined value of all fresh pears rose 17 percent from 2011. The largest market for fresh pears remained Mexico, followed by Canada, Brazil and Russia. (FAS)
The United States also imported fresh pears in 2012 valued at more than $73.8 million, a 23 percent drop from 2011. The top sources for imported pears are Argentina and South Korea, followed by Chile. (FAS)
Fresh-Market Pears, Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2004.
Fruits and Tree Nuts, ERS, USDA.
Global Agricultural Trade System, Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), USDA.
Noncitrus Fruits & Nuts, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA.
Organic Production Survey, 2007 Census of Ag, NASS, USDA, 2008.
U.S. Per Capita Food Availability, ERS, USDA.
- Apples and Pears, Midwest Tree Fruit Pest Management Handbook, University of Kentucky.
- Enterprise Budget, High-Density Pears, Oregon State University, revised 2003 - This enterprise budget provides estimates of typical costs related to high-density pear production in North Central Oregon.
- Establishing Pears: Current Costs and Return Studies, University of California-Davis - Select “pears” in the commodity box. This site has estimated costs for establishing pears and specialty pears in California.
- European Pears, University of California-Davis - This site links to other pear sites.
- Fresh Fruit (Apples, Grapes, and Pears): World Markets and Trade, FAS, USDA.
- Gorge Delights Marketing New Fruit Products, Good Fruit Grower magazine, 2003 - Oregon company turns lower-grade pears into fruit bars.
- Gorge Delights - Adding Value to Pears, Ag Marketing Resource Center, 2004 - Profile of the company that processes fruit into fresh-cut slices and is making pear nutrition bars.
- Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts, NASS, USDA.
- Pear Bureau Northwest - This nonprofit marketing organization was established in 1931 to promote fresh pears grown in Oregon and Washington. Pears are distributed under the USA Pears logo.
- Pear Fact Sheet, Northwest Horticultural Council.
- Pears, World Markets and Trade, FAS, USDA - This link provides domestic pear production and trade figures.
- Organic Pear Production, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), NCAT, 2003 - This online guide provides information on pests, Asian pears and marketing related to organic production.
- Rasmussen Farms is located in Oregon’s Hood River Valley. Established in 1945, the farm raises several fruits and vegetables, including pears. The operation sells products from its farm store and online. The farm sponsors a Pear Party one weekend in September. The party features 18 kinds of pears, along with pear desserts and products.
- Umpqua Organic Farm, LLC, Roseburg, Oregon - This 30-acre farm along the Umpqua River specializes in organic Asian pears that are marketed from the farm’s website.
- Virginia Gold Orchard, Natural Bridge, Virginia - Paul and YoungSuk Estabrook grow and market certified organic Asian pears on their orchard, which was established in 1990. Together with their two children, they manage 4,000 trees from 16 different varieties. Pears are sold directly from the orchard. Online orders are taken for 10-pound gift boxes.
Links checked May 2012.