“I think it goes back to flavor. The older storage fruit or (pears) shipped from the Southern Hemisphere are getting pretty tired.”
The fact that the California crop is starting 10 days to two weeks ahead of the past few seasons also means retailers will have more time to capitalize on California pears, said Dave Parker, marketing adviser.
Rivermaid planned to start harvest of starkrimson July 1-3, followed by bartletts July 8 or 9.
Bosc, comice and other varieties will be harvested in late July, with french butters beginning early August.
“We have a complete variety program for retailers who are interested in putting out an intriguing pear display for the shoppers who are really pear aficionados,” Parker said.
Good mix of sizes
Kyle Persky, sales manager for Finley-based Scully Packing Co. LLC, said this year’s crop is similar to that of 2011, which saw a nice mix of sizes.
“Last year peaked on large fruit,” he said. “This year is more in the nature of 100s to 110s. Generally, domestic chains prefer the 100s and larger, and the various export markets like the 110s. So this manifest should be successful for all markets.”
Some foodservice operations even like the smallish 135s, which were tight last year.
But this year, it won’t be a problem.
“So this should allow for a better manifest for the total pear market,” Persky said.
David J. Elliot & Son should harvest about 15% more bartletts from its river district orchards this year because of increased acreage and a better than average per-acre yield, Thiessen said.
Quality also should be very good, since there weren’t any hail or other weather-related issues during the growing season.
Early on, Thiessen said he expects sizes to average 110s and 100s. As the crop progresses, sizes should increase, probably peaking on 100s and 90s.
Steve Johnson, marketing director for Johnson Family Ranch, Ukiah, said harvest in the mountain district should begin about July 25, a week to 10 days earlier than the past few years.
He said he expects this season to be “solid,” as it has the past couple years.
“In general, it looks like the whole market seems pretty stable, which is good for everybody,” Johnson said. “The pear market the last couple of years is in better shape than it had been.”