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Medford Pear Committee Provides Industry Leadership

As early as 1931, the Medford Winter Pear Committee was trying to market pears across the United States, including presentations in Detroit and New York.  Stores showed enthusiasm and that fall Washington pear growers joined Oregon in creating the Oregon-Washington Pear Bureau.  Its major goal was to improve the market promotion of winter pear varieties.

On July 9, 1937, California winter pear growers met in Medford to form the combined Oregon-Washington-California Pear Bureau.  Plans for a larger advertising campaign included use of newspapers, radio and subway cards back East. The bureau promoted a National Pear Week to be held each year during the seven days preceding Thanksgiving Week.  Some 200,000 stores from the National Grocers Retail Association featured the fruit across the country.

In addition, the pear bureau published a promotional publication titled “How Ned and Molly Met the Vitamins, Jolly,” a children’s tale in verse about Ned and Molly’s encounter with vitamins and calories.  The booklet features line drawings of pears with coloring instructions.

In was a case of Medford pear growers and shippers providing early industry leadership.

Sources: "A National Pear Week Is Planned." Southern Oregon History, Revised. Ed. Tina Truwe. The Chicago Packer, 24 July 1937. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. ; Cordy, C. B. "History of the Rogue Valley Fruit Industry." Eden Valley Orchards, 16 Sept. 1977. Web. 18 Oct. 2016. www.edenvalleyorchards.com/Files/Cliff%20Cordy%20Pear%20History.pdf; Stone, Harold O. "How Ned and Molly Met the Vitamins, Jolly." Children's Book Gallery. Oregon-Washington-California Pear Bureau, 1937. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.