Two varieties of pears punctuated the food line at Cherry Street Food Bank on my last shift, but the bright, rosy Bartletts stood out. I’d never seen blushing pears!
They were grown at Stemilt Orchard in Wenatchee, and part of a 60,000-pound load distributed to food banks. Family owned since 1964, Stemilt is known for their apples,
cherries, stone fruit, and of course, pears. Some reasons Stemilt can blush with pride: they’ve used organic practices on a large portion of their land since 1989, and last year they won the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Energy Performance. Also last year Stemilt won the Community Collaboration Award from the Washington State Commission on
Hispanic Affairs. The orchard has a free health clinic for all employees, free on-site English and Spanish classes for all employees in partnership with the Wenatchee Literary
Council, and they sponsor local sports teams and cultural events. And over the past several years Stemilt has donated 1 million pounds of fruit to more than 370 food banks and hunger programs in Washington.
It took collaboration to bring them from the orchard to our tables. Rotary First Harvest learned of the spare pears and arranged free transportation for them to one of Northwest Harvest's three warehouses. Then, Northwest Harvest volunteers and staff sorted and our drivers distributed the pears to our our more than 360 partner hunger relief programs around Washington. Another successful team effort!
Stemilt Orchard, it all started with you. Thank you for all that you do for the planet and our community, and thank you for the beautiful pears!
Posted By: Northwest Harvest volunteer Sarah Crane O’Neill