After attending last week's Pear Blossom festival, I began wondering: Where are all the pears coming from? I understand that the annual event marks the beginning of spring and recognizes the area's premier fruit, but pears aren't in season. Are we ordering pears from out-of-state for events such as the Dare to Pear Challenge and the Pear-A-Fare? Something seems amiss.

After attending last week's Pear Blossom festival, I began wondering: Where are all the pears coming from? I understand that the annual event marks the beginning of spring and recognizes the area's premier fruit, but pears aren't in season. Are we ordering pears from out-of-state for events such as the Dare to Pear Challenge and the Pear-A-Fare? Something seems amiss.

— Jill D., Medford

Jill, we can understand your confusion, as the valley is months away from its first pear harvest, but thanks to Naumes Inc. and its cold storage capacity, local pears were available for the event.

The local pear industry giant provided gift-grade colossal comice pears for the Dare to Pear Challenge and the Smudge Pot Stroll.

As is the custom of pear providers, pears are picked prematurely and placed in cold storage, which slows the ripening process and allows pears to be kept for several months. After harvest, Naumes' pears are divvied up — the higher grade is used for gift baskets and the lower grade for donations.

Although comice pear season ended in March, Naumes Inc. had enough of the variety left over to provide for the Pear Blossom events. And, not only did the company donate more than 600 pounds of pears for the events, its sister company, DonateFruit.com, matched the amount pound-for-pound with a donation of pears to local and national food banks, said Keith Cooper, vice president of marketing and operations for DonateFruit.com.

Jill, the pears may not have been fresh from the orchard, but they were local and delicious, nonetheless — and helped out a good cause, to boot.

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