Califonia Bountiful

Delta pears

A delta favorite finds new fans in America's Farm-to-Fork Capital!



You'd be hard-pressed to find a fruit more closely tied to a region than the pear that flourishes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta just south of Sacramento.

In 1849, Bartlett pear trees arrived in California, brought West by prospectors eager to strike it rich in the Gold Rush. But as it turned out, those who farmed pears ended up finding the real fortune in their golden fruit! With its ideal climate and soils, California grew to become the nation's main supplier of the fruit and many of those original Gold Rush farming families still grow the fruit today—including the Elliot family. Today it's Ryan Elliot along with his wife, brother, sister and dad that are in charge of running Stillwater Orchards. Together the family has around 1,600 acres of pears—growing mainly Bartletts, which continue to thrive on the rich agricultural land in the delta community of Courtland.

Harvest is a fast and furious one, as there's a small window to get the fruit off the trees and off to market. Workers are skilled in selecting what needs to be harvested and what needs to ripen a bit more. The pear is one of the few fruits that does not fully ripen on the tree, so growers pick the fruit when it is a somewhat mature green color but not yet ripe.

Once the pears are picked, they are prepared for sale to customers all over the world. Attention to detail is paramount, as this fruit will be shipped fresh for folks to enjoy in a variety of ways. Some are for the fresh market and some will be canned, but at the Elliots' farm, some are going elsewhere—to downtown Sacramento in the form of the hottest cocktail in town! At Revival, the newest rooftop bar in Sacramento's ever-evolving skyline, guests can now enjoy a farm-fresh cocktail, courtesy of the Elliots' pears and their newest venture: Delta Islands Cider. The cider idea was developed by the Elliot brothers as a way to use pears that might not get sold otherwise. And now, thanks to a renewed interest in artisanal cocktails, the cider has become a popular menu item at a bar in the heart of America's Farm-to-Fork Capital.

So although pears may have a sweet history in this area, the people of Courtland and Sacramento will tell you it's the future that's ripe for success!

For more information about Stillwater Orchards, visit www.stillwaterorchards.com.


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