Northwest pear shipments are underway with an estimated 20.2 million 44-pound box equivalents for the new season, which is the fourth-largest crop in history.
Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts in Washington and Oregon’s Mid-Columbia and Medford districts released the forecast in early August, increasing an earlier estimate of 18.9 million boxes. The
Pear Bureau Northwest reports in a news releast harvest has begun in all four growing districts, about a week earlier than the 2017-18 season, but closer to the historical start date. Harvest will continue through September.
“After last year’s very small crop, our growers are pleased to have a full crop of great quality pears to meet growing consumer demand,” Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest said in the release. “Retailers have a strong opportunity for pear category growth in the produce department this season and we are prepared to provide them with individual category analysis, consumer insights, and effective promotions to drive pear sales.”
Estimates for the leading varieties, in 44-pound box equivalents:
- Green anjou — 9.9 million (49 percent of total Northwest crop)
- Bartlett — 5.3 million (26 percent of total crop)
- Bosc — 3.2 million (16 percent of total crop)
- Red Anjou — 1 million (5 percent of total crop)
Washington and Oregon growers estimate organic production this season at 2 million 44-pound boxes, which is 10 percent of the total Northwest crop. The industry’s organic forecast is for about 753,000 boxes of green anjous, 698,000 boxes of bartletts and 384,000 boxes of bosc pears.
Growth in the organic pear crop is due to newly transitioned orchards and a strong pear crop overall, according to the release.
Harvest of starkrimsons has started in most Northwest districts, and bartletts started the week of August 12th. By the end of August, comice, bosc, forelle and seckel picking will have started, followed by anjous.
The USDA released overall U.S. pear shipment estimates, putting the season’s crop at 739,200 tons, an increase of less than 1 percent from last season.
Bartlett production, at 336,400 tons, is 1 percent down from last season.
Other pear production in the Pacific Coast states is forecast at 402,800 tons, 2 percent above last year.
“Growers in Oregon and Washington reported a solid crop with excellent quality, but had concerns that significant fire blight issues could reduce current production,” the USDA said.
Washington pears, apples and stone fruit – grossing about $7300 to New York City.