Date of visit: May 12, 2012
Population: 7,167 (2010 Census)
One of Hood River’s early settlers, Nathaniel Coe, thought that the soil in the Hood River Valley would be good for orchards so around 1854 he planted apple trees. His hunch proved to be correct and within a few decades the valley was dotted with fruit trees as well as strawberry fields. Hood River became well-known for its apples.
In December 1919 the temperature dropped to 27 degrees below zero and thousands of fruit trees were killed. The apple trees were especially affected, the pears less so. So when farmers re-planted they chose pear trees over apple trees. Although apples are still grown in Hood River, today the area is the world’s leading producer of Anjou pears. About two-thirds of Oregon’s pears are grown here, and a Pear Celebration is held in September with at least 18 different varieties of pears available for tasting and purchase. Over a billion pears are grown in Oregon each year, and they are shipped to 36 countries around the world.