MEDFORD, Ore. -- It's the end of pear harvesting season in Southern Oregon. Eden Valley Orchards is 134 years old and is still producing pears today. The land still has some of the original pear trees from when the orchard started more than 100 years ago.
Eden Valley Orchards converted to organic farming six or seven years ago. There are seven acres of pear trees at the orchards. It produces anywhere from 20 to 40 tons of fruit.
When harvest ends, all of the pears are turned into cider. First, they are washed, chopped and pressed. Then, they're left in big tanks to ferment until February. Eden Valley Orchards makes a normal pear cider and a cranperry flavored cider.
The decision to go organic helps protect the health of customers, according to owner Anne Root.
"It actually makes a good improvement," said Root. "Our pears that come off of here, they taste delicious in the cider. And when you're drinking that, it's a very concentrated juice. Not having a chemical residue on that is very important."
Pears that can't be used for cider are put into a compost pile. That way they aren't wasted. The compost is used to fertilize a small kitchen garden.
A white house sits at the front of Eden Valley Orchard, and it's been there since the 1890's, said Root. This house and the orchard itself have been important part of Southern Oregon's economy for more than 100 years.
During prohibition, Oregon voted to stop growing wine grapes, so farmers took to growing pears, said Root. That helped develop Southern Oregon's economy and it's still a big part of this area's economy today.
"It's really important for us to see how we go back agriculturally," said Root. "That's what developed the valley, one of the things. We had timber and other things, but pears were the start of a community here."
This area's soil and climate are perfect for growing pears, according to Root. Pears grown here have more sugar than pears grown in other places. These high sugar levels make the orchard's pear cider taste even better.
Even though the pear harvesting season is just about over, Eden Valley Orchard's is already preparing for grape harvesting season. It lasts until about the first of November. The owner said that they need help turning those grapes into wine.
Eden Valley Orchards need seasonal workers to help out in the winery. If you're interested in a job, you can come to the tasting room and drop a resume off. Working in the winery can take a lot of hours. That's why Root said they are looking for a certain type of worker.
"We need dedicated people," said Root. "People who love the craft and people who love the idea of what they're doing."