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THE TASTE AND TOAST OF SUMMER IN THE DELTA
Grown in the mineral-rich soils along the Sacramento River, Bartlett pears are the taste – and toast of summer in the Delta. The pear harvest is celebrated each year during the annual Pear Fair where thousands gather for hometown country fun and festivities in the small river town of Courtland.
A delightful fruit eaten fresh, the versatile pear is also excellent for pies as well as canning, baby food, juice, wine and fruit cocktail in the commercial food industry, and Bartlett pears play an important role in California’s agriculture industry yielding around 130,000 tons a year, ranking the state number one in Bartlett production.
Nutritionally packed with 10 percent daily requirement of vitamin C, and 16 percent fiber, pears are not only a good source of potassium, but one medium pear is less than 100 calories, so they’re a healthy choice no matter how you slice them.
Pears are harvested one at a time by hand and workers are paid based on how many pear bins they can fill per day. A skilled worker can harvest up to eight bins, each weighing between 1000 – 1100 lbs when full. Pears are picked when mature, but green to ripen off the tree for better quality.
A pear orchard yields around 25 tons per acre, and a single tree can produce for 50 to 75 years, although some produce for more than 100 years. The Delta’s mineral-rich soils, warm days and cool nights are perfect for pear trees that have the unique ability to self pollinate, unlike other trees needing bees for this process.