By California Pear Advisory Board
Domestic pears are back in season as California has just begun shipments.
California pear shippers are predicting they will harvest 2.28 million packages of Bartlett pears this summer, which is slightly more than last year’s crop of just over 2 million packages. In addition to Bartlett, the primary variety grown in California, the state is anticipating another 500,000 boxes of other varieties led by Golden Bosc. Additional heirloom varieties to be offered include Sunsprite, Starkcrimson, Red pears, traditional Bosc, Comice, Seckel and French Butter along with a limited supply of organic varieties.
The River Delta growing region in California will be first to harvest of Bartletts July 22 with the Mendocino growing area harvest predicted for August 5 and Lake County to begin August 12. Pears are sold by 4 California pear shipping companiess that include: David J. Elliot & Son and Greene and Hemly Inc., both of Courtland; Rivermaid Trading Company, Lodi; and Scully Packing, Finely.
This means that retailers and consumers can look forward to having fresh U.S. pears in their stores again instead of buying pears from other countries or from storage.
“To ensure top quality, most shippers will be hand-selecting the largest fruit first and pre-conditioning so consumers can enjoy ripe, ready-to-eat fruit from the beginning of our season,” says Chris Zanobini, Executive Director of the California Pear Advisory Board.
“Now is the time for retail stores nationwide to begin planning promotions for these early season, freshly harvested California pears,” stresses Zanobini. “In fact, marketing research clearly shows the early summer pear season is absolutely the most profitable for retail pear sales.”
When the harvest started, California had the only freshly harvested pears available.
California growers believe in harvesting and marketing the traditional way versus using controlled atmosphere storage or chemically treating the fruit for longer storage life. So, California can offer a fresh pear for its entire shipping period.
California pears have a rich history as one of the first tree fruits planted and sold commercially in the nation. Some 60 farming families continue to produce pears in California on orchards that can be over 100 years old.
“Today’s California pears are grown by fourth and fifth generation families who are farming the same land their grandparents and great-grandparents did during the California Gold Rush,” explains Zanobini. “The California Bartlett pear is truly heirloom variety and we want consumers to enjoy the rich history of our farming community as much as they enjoy our pears.”