FEATURED FRUIT: PINEAPPLE
ENJOY A TASTE OF THE TROPICS
Once known as the fruit of kings because they were only available to natives of the tropics and wealthy Europeans, pineapples are now a popular exotic fruit in the U.S. The pineapples we are shipping now are from Costa Rica, where we work with growers who plan the harvest for us and hold on to the fruit longer, resulting in extreme sweetness and exceptional flavor, and they are tender enough that you can peel, slice, and enjoy the whole fruit. Pineapples contain a natural tenderizing enzyme that makes them ideal for pairing with meat and poultry. Baking, grilling, and roasting pineapples brings out the sweetness and mellows the acidity, making them highly versatile.
Pineapples are one of the few fruits that do not continue to ripen after the harvest, so they are ready to eat the moment they arrive at your door.
NOW HAPPENING IN THE ORCHARDS
Our pear and peach trees are beginning to bud. Skilled teams of workers continue the task of pruning our trees and removing dead or damaged branches to encourage new growth, which yields more and better fruit in future harvests. Our frost teams are also on alert, monitoring dozens of sensors strategically placed throughout the orchard to keep our budding trees healthy.
Although flowers have not bloomed, we can now see some signs of pink in our peach orchards. Beehives are now being placed in our orchards. Once they are all here, we will have 80 hives in the peach orchards and 1,300 hives in the pear orchards. The bees provide pollination for our fruit and honey for the beekeepers.
This is the final week that we will be shipping our legendary Royal Riviera® Pears from our Southern Oregon orchards until the next harvest season. However, we are now shipping Royal Verano Pears, the luscious spring and summer successor of the Royal Riviera® Pear, from France.
We are now shipping navel oranges grown in California and red grapefruit grown in Texas and California.
Gold Nugget mandarin oranges are currently shipping. They are grown in California by the same grower who tends our Sumo Citrus® Mandarins.
We are now shipping Pink Lady apples from Washington and Jonagold apples from New York.
We are currently shipping Angèlys pears grown in France and Comice pears grown in Chile.
How do your orchardists ensure your pears are all ripe when they arrive, even when the weather is different from year to year?
Because pears require cold weather to become sweet, our orchardists pick each pear the moment it ripens, after which we place them in cold storage for up to 30 days. This ensures that every pear in your box will arrive within a day or two of being ready to eat.
How do you get great pears all year round?
We work with growers in multiple parts of the world to ensure that we have access to the right climate to grow top-quality Comice pears all year. Our orchardists fly out to Chile and New Zealand to inspect the pears we select, and we fly orchardists from those countries here to train them so they can provide pears that meet our standards.
When does your pear crop ripen?
Depending on the year, our pears can ripen anywhere from the second week of August to mid-September. The cooler the growing season is, the faster our pears ripen.
When does your peach crop ripen?
Our peaches ripen from the beginning of July into August while the weather’s warm. Unlike pears, peaches ripen faster in warm weather. If we get a cooler fall season, this means the peach crop and pear harvest will sometimes run together.
How do you make sure the best fruit gets into your gifts?
Every peach and pear (the two fruits we grow in our own orchards) is picked by hand sorted in the field. We then use a machine to take 17 pictures and sort them again to weed out imperfections, and finally, before packing, each piece of fruit is looked at one more time, by hand, to ensure only the highest-quality fruit is shipped.
How much fruit do you grow each year?
We grow about 400 tons of Oregold® Peaches, 15,500 tons of Royal Riviera® Pears, and 800 tons of Bosc pears. The total harvest varies based on weather conditions throughout the year.
Where do you grow your apples?
The majority of the apples we sell come from quality growers in Washington, since Washington apples are high quality and can be shipped everywhere in the U.S. From March to July, when apples aren’t in season there, we send our orchardists and merchants to New Zealand, which shares similar climate characteristics to the U.S. Pacific Northwest in many areas.
Where do your Cherry-Oh!® Cherries come from?
We select growers in specific areas for our cherries—near lakes and cool river valleys—so the cherries are plump and extremely sweet. Those areas are Hood River in Oregon, Lake Wenatchee and Lake Chelan in Washington, and Okanagan Lake in British Columbia.
What’s a fun fact about a fruit that most people don’t know?
In order to turn orange, citrus fruit needs the cold. When temperatures are too warm at night, oranges, HoneyBells, and other fruit will stay green—even though they’re perfectly sweet and delicious. They just don’t take on that beautiful orange hue.