Early pear harvest brings challenges

Talent, Ore. — An early pear harvest leaves a local orchard racing to find workers.

Owner of Meyer Orchards in Talent, Ron Meyer, said in his 70 years working with pears he’s never seen a harvest this early.

“This is very exceptional and catches you unprepared,” Meyer said.

Meyer said the climate this growing season made for a top quality product. But the warm and gentle temperatures put things about two to three weeks ahead of schedule. The pears are ready to be picked, but Meyer’s still looking for workers. 

“We have half to about two-thirds of a crew and it just isn’t enough to get this fruit picked in time,” he said.

Nearly all of Meyer’s Bartlett pears have been picked, a process they don’t usually begin until around August 20th. Bosc pears make up half of Meyer’s production. He needs 1,000 tons to be picked by September 1st before they get too ripe and fall off the tree. That’s about two weeks earlier than usual.

“We could end up with a loss this year,” he said. “We’ll spend more to grow the crop than we’ll get in return. It’s a sad situation believe me.”

Meyer said some migrant workers are still in California finishing their pear harvest. He’s looking to hire about six people and said pear picking requires some skill and physical fitness.

If you’re interested in a job you can contact Ron through phone or email. 

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