Unique Event Goes Behind-the-Scenes of the World-Renowned Pear Orchards of the Gorge and the Local Growers Committed to Sustaining Them. 

Sense of Place, will feature Grow a Pear on February 21st, 2024. This event will be offered in-person at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, Oregon and via livestream. Audience members will have the chance to win pear-related prizes, take home freshly ripened, winter pears, and maybe even be selected for an on-stage activity, the Pear Pressure Test!

Washington and Oregon hold the coveted titles of the top two pear-producing states in the U.S., with Hood River County producing more Anjou Pears than anywhere else in the world. In a region where pears are elevated to celebrity status, the Gorge stands as a unique epicenter. But what do we really know about these local superstars and the people committed to growing them? Sense of Place host and curator, Sarah Fox, will be joined in conversation with esteemed, local growers – Lesley Tamura and Adam McCarthy. This rare insider’s view will follow the life of a pear, unraveling the secrets, challenges, and misconceptions of growing this vital crop. Through stories, photos, and firsthand expertise, audience members will get to know the pears and the people that have been an integral part of the Columbia River Gorge for generations.

Lesley Tamura was born and raised in Hood River. She grew up on her family’s orchard, watching different pear varieties grow from buds to blossoms to pears year after year. Lesley studied elementary education at Western Oregon University and spent the next decade teaching, first as a substitute in Hood River County School District and then as a sixth-grade teacher in the Hillsboro School District. After leaving teaching, she returned home to learn the family business from her father and she is now the 4th generation of the Tamura family to grow fruit in the Hood River Valley. Lesley currently serves as vice-chair of Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers, a non-profit organization of 440 growers and 20 shippers of tree fruit in the Mid-Columbia area.

Adam McCarthy returned to the Hood River Valley in 2013 to run the family farm. As the full-time manager of McCarthy Family Farm, Adam oversees all operations and personnel. A graduate of Hood River High School, Adam attended the University of California, Davis, where he earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in agricultural and resource economics. After graduating, he went on to work as an Orchard Manager at Harry & David, where he worked for six years. Adam is currently serving as President of the Hood River Grower Shipper Association. He’s also on the board of the Hood River Supply Association and the board of the Washington-Oregon Canned Pear Association. Adam lives in Hood River with his wife Staci, who runs her own law practice McCarthy Law, LLC. They have two children, Elli and Graham.

Event Details:

Sense of Place

When – Wednesday, February 21, 2024. Doors open 6:00 pm, presentation begins 7pm.

Where – Columbia Center for the Arts, 215 Cascade Avenue Hood River, OR 97031 or via livestream

Cost – $12 tickets, information at SenseOfPlaceGorge.org

* Advance purchase is encouraged as presentations often sell-out. Seats not filled by 6:45pm will be made available to those on the waitlist. The event and will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Sense of Place host, Sarah Fox.