California pear grower-shippers expect an early start to their season, which promises excellent quality and ample volumes.

Starkrimsons should start shipping at the end of June or beginning of July, with bartletts following about July 8, said Chris Zanobini, executive director of the Sacramento-based California Pear Advisory Board.

“We’ve had great growing weather and are going to have a really nice crop,” Zanobini said.

“I can’t think of one hail incident or anything of that nature.”

California growers are expected to ship about 4.5 million boxes of fresh-market pears this season, according to the board.

About 2.8 million of those will come from the river district, with the lake district accounting for another 1.2 million boxes and Mendocino about 418,000 boxes.

Scully Packing Co. LLC, Finley, Calif., expects to begin shipping bartletts about July 8 and boscs three or four weeks later, said Phil Scully, co-owner.

On June 25, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $30-33 for 18-kilogram containers of boscs 70-80s from Chile, up from $26-28 last year at the same time.

Volumes should be about normal and quality good, Scully said.

The earlier-than-usual start won’t put a damper on demand, he said.

“We’re enthusiastic about the start of the season. The volume of imports is very manageable and the anjou crop is cleaning up nicely. It looks like we’ll go into the season with a fairly empty pipeline and good quality.”

On the organic side, Sedro-Woolley, Wash.-based Viva Tierra, which markets pears grown by Courtland, Calif.-based Greene & Hemly Inc., expects to begin shipping from California in mid-July, said Matt Roberts, Viva Tierra’s sales manager.

The company’s growers are starting a bit later than other California growers to give a heavy crop time to size, Roberts said.

“We’ll be up quite a bit from last year,” he said.

“They’ve had really good weather.”

With few Argentinean pears in the pipeline in June, demand for organics should be strong at the beginning of the deal, Roberts said.

“Bartletts are pretty sought after right now,” he said.

“It seems like we should have good demand right out of the gate.”