American AgCredit was proud to feature Tom Walcher and Pear Blossom Farms at the Farm Credit Fly In 2019 in Washington, D.C. This important event allows us to demonstrate Farm Credit’s impact on rural communities and the important role we play in supporting farmers, ranchers and rural infrastructure providers in good times and bad.
Billed as the “Home of Dad’s Jalapeño Sauce,” Pear Blossom Farms can trace a family lineage of fruit growing and food processing to the early days of Colorado settlement.
Tom Walcher borrows a phrase from his father when talking about the family’s orchard and food processing business in Palisade, Colorado. “You can’t get anything better out of a jar than what you put into it.”
It’s a commitment to quality that continues to guide Tom and his brothers at Pear Blossom Farms. The family picks ripe fruits and vegetables to ensure that every product – from a bottle of Dad’s Jalapeño Sauce to a jar of peach preserves – meets the highest standards of taste and freshness. “My mom’s mother would never use seconds and never preserve overripe fruits – ever,” Tom said. “She believed everything you make should be the best you can make it. We still operate that way today. Every product we make is the best we can make it.”
Pear Blossom Farms grows peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, apples, raspberries, peppers and other vegetables in fertile land above the Colorado River. The ripe fruit is preserved in jars or processed to make jams, jellies, salsas and sauces, much as Tom’s grandparents preserved their fresh produce in the early 20th century to enjoy during the long winters.
Tom’s father Wendell began producing tomato salsas and fruit preserves under the Pear Blossom Farms label in the early 1990s. The family business now spans four generations, with members ranging in age from 10 to 82.
“Our products are part of the legacy,” said Tom. “The things we make are the things we’ve always made in our family.”
Pear Blossom Farms has grown slowly but steadily over the years, largely reaching new customers through its reputation, word-of-mouth promotion and online sales. Tom said the company has delivered a taste of the region’s fruits and vegetables to customers in 49 states. The family’s hot sauces are featured at restaurants and markets across Colorado.
When demand for the family’s jams, jellies, sauces and salsas started to outpace production, Pear Blossom Farms realized that it was time to expand the family’s fruit processing facility. Tom went and spoke with an American AgCredit lender in the Grand Junction office.
Within minutes, Tom said he had noticed the advantages of working with a Farm Credit lender.
“You go see another lender and the likelihood of them understanding a farm is next to nothing,” said Tom. “You go to American AgCredit and it’s the norm. It’s a completely different experience than working with traditional lenders. It was different throughout that experience, and to this day.”