Washington pear grower-shippers are reporting excellent quality and brisk movement early in the season.

Quality thus far has been outstanding and fruit larger than last season on average, Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash., said Sept. 10.

“It’s an incredibly clean crop,” Queen said. “The fruit is really beautiful.”

Early season bartletts were peaking on 90s and 80s the week of Sept. 10, Queen said.

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash., also reported good size and excellent quality on the company’s starkrimsons and bartletts, said Scott Marboe, marketing director.

“We’ve had really good packouts, and we knew going in we’d have bigger sizes, and it’s turned out to be the case,” Marboe said.

Volumes are slightly lower than what Domex expected, and demand strong, Queen said.

“We’ve seen good movement. Things are clicking right along.”

On Sept. 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $24-26 for 4/5 bushel cartons of bartletts 70-90 from Washington, comparable to last year at the same time.

Oneonta Starr was also shipping anjous in the first half of September and expected to add seckels, comices and forelles the week of Sept. 17, Marboe said. The shipper’s volumes should be similar to last season, with about 2 million cartons expected.

Domex was picking bartletts in the first half of September and expected to add anjous the week of Sept. 17, Queen said. Boscs should follow near the end of September, and comices in mid-October.

Queen expected early September prices to remain fairly stable in the coming weeks.

Marboe also reported brisk movement early in the deal.

“There’s a lot of interest in setting up ads in October, November and December,” he said. “We have great demand.”