By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University.
Profile revised May 2012.
Photo courtesy of USDA ARS.
Commercial pear production is concentrated in the Northwest United States. Washington State grows nearly half of the nation’s total pear production. Total U.S. production in 2011 was 940,110 tons, valued at $387 million.
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 5.6 pounds. 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. Mexico and Canada are the two largest markets for U.S. pears. The United States exported 161,938 metric tons (MT) of fresh pears valued at $170 million in 2011. In addition, the United States exported 8,925 MT of organic pears valued at $8.9 million.
The United States imported 77,610 MT of fresh pears in 2011 valued at $96 million. The top sources for imported pears include Argentina and Chile.
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 Horticultureal 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, and flowers. The operation hosts several seasonal events and 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 Web site.
- 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.