Pear Facts Article

Pears – “A Gift of the Gods”

Major Pear Types

This article provides interesting pear facts.

There are more than 3,000 varieties of pears world-wide!

In the United States, four pear varieties are commonly available: Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc and Comice, along with a few specialty types like Asian and Nellis pears.

I personally love to eat fresh pears and I like to use them in salads and other cooking endeavors.

I am lucky to live in Washington State.

Pear orchards are abundant in my home state of Washington and neighboring state of Oregon. They are a Northwest treasure, or as the Greek poet, Homer, described them, they are a “gift of the gods.”

Washington and Oregon are major pear producers for the entire world. This is probably the only region in the U.S. to possess the necessary combination of climate and geography needed to produce the high quality, delicious pears.

The rich volcanic soil, abundant water, warm days and cool nights creates ideal growing conditions for the pear varieties found in the Northwest.

There are four primary growing areas within these two states that account for the vast majority of marketable pears ( Mid-Columbia/Hood River area, the Medford District in southern Oregon, the Wenatchee Valley in north central Washington and the Yakima Valley).

Pear Facts

Just to give you an idea of how much these two states produce:

  • Pears are Oregon's number one tree fruit crop, and its' #10 agricultural commodity
  • Oregon's total pear production ranks 3rd overall in the United States and 2nd in terms of fresh pear production
  • In Washington State, pear production ranks number two (only behind apples) and is the state's #11 agricultural commodity
  • Washington's fresh pear production is the largest in the United States
  • Combined annual pear production for Washington and Oregon averages over 650,771 tons
  • If compared to other (non-Asian variety) pear-producing countries, Oregon's production alone would rank ninth worldwide; Washington's would rank eighth worldwide

Northwest pear varieties are the same or similar to those first cultivated in France and Belgium where they were prized for their delicate flavor, buttery texture, and long storage life.

Pear Facts

The most common varieties grown are:

  • Yellow Bartlett (Bart-let) is green and then ripens to a bright yellow.
  • Red Bartlett that has a bright red skin when fully ripe.
  • Green Anjou which does not turn color when it ripens.
  • Red Anjou that remains maroon red when ripe.
  • Bosc (Bahsk) pears are brownish and do not turn color when ripened. This pear is great for baking and other kinds of cooking.
  • Comice (Co-meece) pears are one of the sweetest, juiciest varieties, and often are very large. An elegant dessert pear that's excellent with cheese. Almost no color change when ripe.
  • Seckel (Seck’l) are tiny pears with ultra-sweet flavor, maroon and olive green in color. Excellent choice for children's snacks, pickling, or as a garnish. No color change when ripened.
  • Forelle (For-ell) A small variety. Turns bright yellow with crimson freckling when ripe.


There are lots of pears to choose from. See how many types of pears you can find at your own grocery store and take some of each home to enjoy and see which variety you like best.

Don't miss the article on pairing pears with cheese and wine.

I hope you found the pear facts of interest. Please remember to check out all the restaurant recipes that use pears in a variety of ways.

Pears are a "Gift of the Gods." - Donna

Did you know? There is evidence of pears being used as a food since prehistoric times.

The pear is native to coastal and mildly temperate regions of the Old World, from Western Europe and North Africa east right across Asia.