Pear Blossom Farms

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Clean as a whistle

Earlier this week, we posted on Facebook the specific steps we were taking at Pear Blossom Farms to do our part in combatting the coronavirus pandemic, and to assure consumers that our products were entirely safe to use.  While this particular virus and the unique dangers it present are new to us, the unconditional commitment necessary to protect the safety of our product goes back more than a century.

Beyond the usual commitment to food safety present in most facilities, Pear Blossom Farms operates from a culture ingrained with an absolute fidelity to safely preserving food, passed on as a legacy from pioneering ancestors.  I can recall from an early age for example, our grandmother insisting not only in the use of really hot water, but that it was always employed at a rolling boil temperature.  Though heat treatment is still one of our most valuable tools in preserving shelf-stable foods, our processes have evolved substantially from those days.

Blossoms of all ColorsSpring must be a very happy time for just about all farmers.  It certainly is for us.  Everything begins again fresh with a promising future of a rewarding harvest.  With life itself sprouting up everywhere we look, our world turns green with blossoms of all colors and hope brings with it a kind of rechargeable joy.

But just as there are two sides to every coin, each spring also brings with it the potential for crushing disappointment that can send a small farmer near to despair. That’s because every spring delivers the dreadful prospect of a killing frost; the possibility of losing an entire fruit crop is inescapable. And when the stormy days come late in the spring, bringing those frosty cold nights with them, we stand entirely at the mercy of mother nature’s rule. Damaging weather of a different type, along with other natural threats will surely be coming in force later in the season, but the early spring frost can have a lot to say about how a farmer’s year may go.

There are many ways to measure success in the world. In our world, it is difficult to imagine any success at all without the countless friends who have helped us so much over the years. It would be difficult to name them all even in a lengthy article, so we will be devoting several efforts to all the places we have found the best friends a farm can have. What might interest people to know, is that while they do indeed come from a lot of different places, some of the very best friends a farm can have are other farms – run by other farmers.

Big Farms smallFrom time to time, we hear uninformed rumors of rivalries, jealousies and feuds among farmers, but around here, we have always been able to count on just the opposite. Around here, the help from other farms has never been anything but forthcoming and generously extended. So much so, that we cannot even imagine the building of Pear Blossom Farms without them. And we hope that by pointing them out, we might shine a light on the tremendous spirit of comradery practiced by nearly all of the Grand Valley’s long-time stalwart farmers.

Farming is a long-term proposition. The formation of Pear Blossom Farms has been one as well, with deep and well-established roots of family and farming traditions. What our ancestors thought of as simple and proper ways of life, rather naturally over time became our slogan – “A Legacy of Good Taste”.

Fruit treesMuch of our “Legacy” comes from a time when people kindly took in complete strangers who were traveling and hungry.Apple Pie Our grandparents told us of such things in stories from their childhoods, before there were automobiles; times when people searching for better lives or for loved ones had to do so from the back of a horse or the seat of a wagon. Those days may be gone, but the sentiment of sharing with the weary traveler remains, as a strong and noble part of our culture.

Nature's WonderOccasionally someone tasting Dad’s Jalapeño Sauces for the first time will say something like, "Wow - that'll clear your sinuses!"

They may intend that as a joke, but in fact it is one of the most prized properties of capsaicin, the substance that gives chili peppers their “heat.” In fact, there are several very effective capsaicin-based sinus-clearing nasal sprays now on the market – all approved by the FDA. That’s because its medicinal qualities have been known for centuries, and in more recent years scientifically proven. Today, capsaicin is regularly used to treat not only sinus problems, but also headaches, pain, inflammation, gastric problems, and more.

Christopher Columbus actually discovered chili peppers (which are uniquely American native plants), growing in the Caribbean islands. It was he who named their fruits "peppers" (remember, black pepper was the highly prized spice in his time). Chili was the Aztec word for the plants, added a century later by explorers of Mexico. But Columbus’s crew learned right away that they felt better after eating chili peppers, and the ship’s doctor made a good living ever after using chili peppers as medical treatments for a wide variety of ailments. The jalapeño peppers used in Dad’s sauces also have more than 3½ times more Vitamin C than oranges; they are also high in Vitamin A and lots of other good things.