The pear crop in the mid-Columbia growing region is incredibly late, said Craig Mallon, quality control manager for Duckwall-Pooley Fruit Co., Odell, Ore.
“Normally, we start picking summer pears the middle of August. This year, we aren’t expect to start until Aug. 29. Meanwhile, anjous — which typically start at the beginning of September — won’t start until Sept. 18.”
Fruit sizing slightly off
Shippers said the fruit appeared to be sizing normally through mid-August.
However, the early cool weather could cause sizing for the Northwest pear crop to be down slightly, said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for the Yakima-based Domex Superfresh Growers.
Pears could come in a half-size to a size below normal, shippers say.
Winter pear sizes could peak on 100s rather than 90s or 80s, but warm weather late in the season could boost sizing before harvest, said Keith Mathews, chief executive officer of FirstFruits Marketing of Washington, Yakima.
Even so, the June estimate for the Northwest pear crop was 19.2 million 44-pound boxes, up 8% over 2010 and up 5% from the five-year average.
If it picks to expectations, the Northwest pear harvest would be the fourth largest ever, said Kevin Moffitt, president of Milwaukie, Ore.-based Pear Bureau Northwest.