Question: What are your credentials?
Answer: (In Larry's matter of frankness)  "You get the pears, I get the money. You don't get the pears, I don't get the money."

Question:  How long will it take my pears to ripen?
Answer:  Most of our clients are confused about how long the pears take to ripen.  This confusion is compounded by the reality that the general public has never had freshly picked pears.  Those in the stores have been going over convener belts and sitting in storage for at least three weeks, and in some cases several months.   

They WILL ripen.  The caveat is make sure they are not left in the delivery box.  When left in the box it is difficult to see ripening pears at the bottom. There is nothing more disappointing than to start enjoying your pears when half are turning brown.  

The ripening process can be accelerated by spreading the pears out (single layer) and cover them with a blanket or sheet.  This way the ripening pears can be quickly identified and will all ripen at about the same rate.

Prolong you enjoyment by placing your pears in the refrigerator and removing your daily diet every day.  After a few days the first pears removed will be ready, and the process with continue.  

Question:  What should I write on the top of my check to you?
Answer:  I usually write the date; but if you are asking about the, Pay to the order of, the answer is The Pear Guy - unless directed otherwise by your Pear Guy area representative.  

Question: Are The Pear Guy's pears organic? 
Answer: No. 

The expense of growing organic pears is prohibitive to providing our clients with "better pears at lower prices". 

All pear growers use pesticides. In fact, in major growing areas, organic farmers can be fined for not using "organic approved" pesticides on their crops as needed. (The fear, of course, is that an unattended infestation could spread through an entire valley.) The main difference between organic and non-organic is that the chemicals used by organic farmers have a shorter effective term, often requiring more frequent spraying than non-organic.

Example: While in a major city I (Larry) stopped in a health food grocery store.  Looking at the pear selection I was shocked to see some very russetted "Organic" Bosc pears.   Surprise!  In order to attain the desired russeted color the Bosc MUST be sprayed with Copper-Sulfate at a specific time in the maturing process.  Hmmm.  What is the definition of Organic?  

Question:  Can I have a list of the chemicals sprayed and when?
Answer: Yes.  All of our farmers must keep meticulous records of each spraying to satisfy the commercial canneries (USDA requirement).  However, we cannot supply your absolute account of spraying activity until your pears are delivered.  The reason for the delay is that each farmer has challenges that may not effect another just a few miles away.  If requested our farmer can put a copy of his spraying activity with the load going to your location.  

Example: One of our farmers had an old man neighbor who had about 40 pear trees.  Because the man no longer cared properly for his own trees, the neighboring farms had to set out dozens of insect traps to detect if spraying would be necessary.  In addition they had to pay an inspector to check each trap twice a week.
Question: What is the quality of the pears The Pear Guy* offers?
Answer: Our customers expect the same or better quality than they would find in the stores.  The main differences are that our pears are not uniform in size and may display some peelable blemishes - like hail dents or branch rub. 

FYI - Pears are picked by various growers and sent to packing houses throughout the west. The pears are then run over the sorting lines and separated into four categories.

The top quality is classified as US#1. These are the picture perfect pears you would expect to see in higher-end retailers all gently wrapped in tissue with all the stems pointed northeast. These pears are uniform in size and blemish free. Sold to wholesalers at top dollar, customers expect to pay more for this eye appealing fruit in the stores - an unnecessary added expense for canning pears.

As the US#1s are packed, the remaining pears -- out of the same orchards and off the same trees -- are sorted into the next category, Fancy. Fancies are typically sold to middle of the road grocers and/or major label canneries. They are not expected to be uniform in size and will often display surface blemishes. The most common peelable blemishes include frost rings (a light brown birth-mark looking ring on the skin), hail damage (an indentation in the skin), and branch rub (a slight skin bruise caused as the wind blows an adjacent limb onto the pear). 

Sorted pears that do not qualify as US#1 or Fancy are Culls. Culls include misshapen fruit, still off the same trees, from the same orchards as US#1.  Too small to qualify for canning purposes, those having blemishes that will not easily peel off and fruit that is too soft to store. Culls are marketed to canneries that put up pear sauce, baby food and juice (commonly added to  "100% juice" drinks). 

Our farmers instruct their pickers to pick all fruit over 2 1/4" in diameter and peelable blemishes.  Bypassing the expense of a sorting line, Field Run growers pick their fruit directly off the trees into boxes for people like Larry-The Pear Guy* -  Fruit under 2-1/4" in diameter and culls are left on the trees; and often picked in a 'second run' for juicers; or picked just to be dropped on the ground as nutrients for next year's crop.

Larry - The Pear Guy* only contracts with U.S.D.A. approved growers to pick to our specifications.  

Question: What is the difference between green and red Bartlett pears?
Answer: Color. A farmer who grows red thinks reds are sweeter. A farmer who grows green thinks greens are sweeter. The color variety is actually prompted by grocers who have found that color choices add interest to the product at large. A perfect grocer's display will include green, red and brown pears. It is all about eye-candy.

Canners prefer the green Bartlett as, unlike the red, the pears change of color give a more definite profile of readiness.  

Question: How long has the The Pear Guy* been doing this?
Answer:  Big Mac - The 'original' Pear Guy actually 
started selling providing this concept with friends and family in 2007, delivering 540 pounds; in 2008 - 24,000 pounds; in 2009 The Pear Guy was filed as a fictitious name and delivered 260,000 pounds; in 2010 - 380,000 pounds (including supplying over 20,000 pounds to Food Banks and Soup Kitchens); 2011 was just short of 650,000 pounds delivered in 8 western States.  Though there is potential for continued growth, The Pear Guy would prefer keeping our quantities at manageable levels.  Under a half million pounds is in our comfort zone.   That is five 53' refrigerated big-rig trucks worth.   

Do you have a question? E-mail - larry@thepearguy.com

The Pear Guy*
Phone: (530) 249-1156
770 Cherry Terrace
Susanville, CA 96130
 Larry Wolfe does business as, and is the sole proprietor of, The Pear Guy, and is not associated with any other company or organization.