Oregon has a perfect climate for fruit trees. Though a mild temperate region, there is just enough winter chill for fruits that require it. Many tree fruits are important commercial crops for Oregon. Semi-dwarf fruit trees are the most common size grown for commercial use and for the home orchard. This size can be trained into espaliers or kept at a very manageable size.
The pear is the state fruit of Oregon. It is also the state's number-one commercial tree fruit. Pears are also common among home gardeners. It is possible to plant summer and winter pears to extend the fresh season. The 'Bartlett' pear is the most popular summer fruiting pear and comes in a yellow and red variety. The 'Bartletts' are the best canning pears. The green and red 'Anjou' pears ripen next, from September through October. The winter pears 'Bosc' and 'Comice' begin ripening in September and can continue through April. These are the best pears for baking.
Apples are grown commercially in Oregon. They are the most popular home garden tree fruits. Certain apple varieties remain favorites no matter how many new selections appear. There are the harder sweet-tart apples, which are grown for storing and baking. Examples are: 'Graventstein', 'Macintosh', 'Jonathan' and 'Braeburn.' There is also a group of apples favored for eating fresh. These are: 'Red Delicious', 'Yellow Delicious', 'Fuji', 'Gala', 'Jonagold' and a relative newcomer, 'Honeycrisp.' Most apple varieties grow well in Oregon and are worth trying.
Oregon is second to California in plum and prune production. The blue-black Italian prune-plum is really a plum that has a higher sugar content. This extra sugar makes them better for drying. Another common blue-black plum grown in Oregon is the 'Blue Damson' plum. The best red plums to grow are 'Santa Rosa' and 'Burbank.' Good yellow plum varieties are 'Shiro' and 'Yellow Egg.' Though there are native plums in North America, most of those in cultivation are from Japan and Europe. There are also selections crossed with cherries called cher-plums.
Peaches grow sweet in Oregon. Still, they are a more temperamental fruit. They are prone to peach-leaf curl and insect damage. Because of this they are grown on a smaller scale and eaten fresh. Freestone peaches are sold u-pick for canning and preserves. Two longtime favorite freestone peaches are the 'Early Elberta' and 'Redhaven.' A common semi-freestone peach grown in Oregon for a long time is the 'Veteran' Peach. The 'Sunhaven' peach has gained in popularity because it is similar to the 'Redhaven' but requires less maintenance. The newest delicacy is the 'Lady White Peach.' This one has a lower acid content and is considered the new gourmet peach.
Nectarines, like peaches, are a specialty fruit in Oregon. They must be carefully pruned and harvested. The two best trees are 'Harko' and 'fantasia.' They will produce a good amount of fruit if the right care is given. Two others, 'Redgold' and 'Jungelo', are grown with a bit more nurturing. Nectarines are a common summer treat found at farmers markets and roadside stands.
Oregon produces a large amount of sweet cherries. A common favorite for eating fresh is the burgundy-colored 'Bing' Cherry. Another fresh Oregon cherry is the 'Royal Ann.' This is a creamy yellow cherry with a pink blush. The modern 'Marachino' cherry is made in Oregon from the 'Royal Ann.' The original liqueur-soaked 'Marachino' was imported from Italy. The 'Ranier' is considered the gourmet sweet cherry. It is a specialty cherry grown in smaller numbers.