Freezes in November and January caused damage to cherry orchards and hurt some apple and pears, Moffitt said.
Strong fruit conditions
However, the cool weather could be a blessing because the lack of extreme heat this summer has helped fruit conditions, Mathews said.
Other shippers agree that fruit conditions look strong.
“The crops looks super clean and we should have very good packouts on No. 1 grade,” said Randy Steensma, president and export marketing director for Nuchief Sales Inc., Wenatchee.
Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing for Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, said there could be more of a gap between old crop and new crop than in most years, which could bode well for sales.
“There will be pent-up demand for the new crop,” he said.
Queen said the eating quality of the fruit is expected to be strong as well, with the cool weather expected to add firm texture to the fruit and provide optimum conditions for fruit sugars to develop.
The big player
By district, the largest growing region is Wenatchee, accounting for projected winter pear volume of 7.29 million boxes.
The Wenatchee growing region accounted for 48% of total Northwest winter pear production, compared with 11% for Yakima, 34% for the Mid-Columbia and 7% for Medford.
The Wenatchee growing region accounts for 66% of anjou production, 31% for bosc, 6% for comice, 31% for red anjou and 98% of concord variety output.