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Pears win awards on Vashon Island

Refreshing beverages sparkle at Nashi Orchards

These are not your average pears! More than 400 trees dot the land surrounding Nashi Orchards on Vashon Island.

"Nashi means pear in Japanese," says Cheryl Lubbert, co-founder of the orchard along with husband and master perry-maker Jim Gerlach.

And yes, it is called "perry," not cider.

"If you're making alcoholic beverage from pear juice, it's called perry. Very traditional in England, France. And a little bit in Austria," Jim says.

Cheryl says people often mistake perry for cider, which comes from apples.

"Perry's aren't that common or popular in the United States yet. In fact, when I did my first festival about five years ago, people thought, 'Gosh, perry. That's real cute. Did you make that up? That's so clever!' Actually no. It's been around for hundreds of years," Cheryl says.

They turn their 15 varieties of Asian pears into a refreshing bubbly beverage.

"Not something that's sweet. It's something dry and crisp, sort of like a wine but a little lower alcohol," says Cheryl.

This organic farm happened organically.

"We loved the house when we moved here. And it came with a big,old orchard. Our trees are about 40, 45 years old. We didn't realize we were gonna get about eight tons of fruit," says Cheryl.

About five years in, they have to borrow from other orchards to meet the demand.

"We were one of the first people and one of the few people who actually make Asian pear perry...in the world probably," says Cheryl.

They don't add sugar. The hint of sweetness happens naturally...kinda like the whole place did.

"We both love to eat and drink great things so," says Jim.

Nashi Orchards | 16906 107th Ave SW, Vashon, WA 98070 | Open weekends year-round for tours and tastings

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