Asian pears are sweet, juicy, and usually grown in warm climates.
But a former housewife has found a way to grow the fruit — which tastes like a pear but has the crunch of an apple — right here in Illinois.
Oriana Kruszewski started growing Asian pears in her Skokie backyard 30 years ago. She was told the fruits wouldn’t survive Chicago’s bitter winters, but with experimentation and innovation she beat the odds and cultivated a variety of Asian pears that now thrives in the Midwest.
Kruszewski, now 71, currently has more than 400 pear trees and is the proud owner of the state’s only commercial Asian pear orchard.
We visited Kruszewski at her orchard to learn more about how she runs her business, and what keeps her going.
Monica Eng is a reporter for Curious City. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Nagasawa is the multimedia producer for Curious City. You can reach her at email@example.com.