Throughout the United States, apple and pear trees flourish abundantly on orchards that devote anywhere from dozens to thousands of acres for growing these popular fruits. Among the four major geographic regions of the U.S., the top 20 list produced by the American/Western Fruit Grower Association indicates that the west has the top apple and pear growers. Many of the fruit farms have been in business for more than 50 years, growing popular apple and pear varieties to meet the growing demand for fresh fruits.
Washington state is known for its apples, so it's no surprise that the top apple orchard in the U.S. in terms of acreage is in Washington. Since 1949, Evans Fruit Company has grown to now have 7,283 acres of apple trees. Among the varieties grown are Red and Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonagold and Cripp's Pink. Other top apple growers in the West are Stemilt Growers, Broetje Orchards, Zirkle Fruit, Gilbert Orchards and Valley Fruit, all located in Washington; Premiere Entities in California; and Earl E. Brown & Sons in Oregon.
Oregon also has the ideal climate and fertile soil for growing pears. Naumes Inc. has 4,500 acres of pear trees, the most in the West. In business since 1946, the Oregon farm grows Comice, Ruby Red and Bosc pear varieties. Other leading pear growers are Bear Creek Orchards and Associated Fruit Company, both in Oregon.
When it comes to growing both apples and pears, Borton Fruit in Washington is the leader with its 5,552 acres of apple, pear and cherry trees. Started in 1910, the orchard grows Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Rome Beauty, Jonagold, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Cripp's Pink, Cameo and Honeycrisp apples and Bartlett, Bosc and Anjou pears.
According to the American/Western Fruit Grower Association, the other top apple and pear growers in the West in order of most acreage are Gebbers Farm in Washington; Farmland Management Services in California; Dovex Fruit, Hansen Fruit, Chiawana Orchards and McDougall and Sons, all in Washington; Symms Fruit Ranch in Idaho; and Yakima Valley Orchards in Washington.
Apples are a popular crop in the Northeastern U.S. as well. The top apple orchard there, with 2,750 acres, is Fowler Farms in upstate New York. The Wolcott orchard, started in 1858, grows apple varieties best suited for the New England climate. Among apple types traditionally grown in New York state are Cortland, Macoun and Empire, all introduced by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Stations. Other popular varieties grown there includ Jonagold, McIntosh, Red Delicious and Red Rome.
The American/Western Fruit Grower Association lists Forrence Orchards and Chazy Orchards, both in New York state, as the other top apple growers in the Northeast.
Although there are many fruit farms throughout the Northeast that grow apples and pears, many are not large enough to be considered top apple and pear growers, and market their fruits to local customers.
While berries grow abundantly in the Midwest, there are numerous farms that grow apples and pears. Eckert Orchards in Illinois and Tree-Mendus Fruit in Michigan are among the top Midwestern orchards growing apples and pears. In terms of acreage, there are no Midwestern orchards on the top 20 list of large growers.
The south is mainly known for growing peaches and other warm-weather crops, rather than apples and pears. But one Southern apple orchard made the American/Western Fruit Grower Association list of the top apple and pear growers: Fruit Hill Orchards in Virginia. That orchard grows apples on its 3,200 acres. The orchard started in 1929 and grows Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Gala, Nittany, Fuji, Jonagold and Honey Crisp apple varieties.