HOOD RIVER, Ore. — Leading up to pear harvest, Washington and Oregon grower-shippers reported good quality and size for the fruit, with some noting that the earlier varieties might be a half size or a full size smaller than the previous year’s crop.
Total volume was on track to be in line with the 2016-17 season, with summer and fall pear volume down 3% and the winter pear volume up 2%, according to the Aug. 1 estimate by the Milwaukie-based Pear Bureau Northwest.
“It’s going to be a good crop to promote,” said Randy Abhold, executive vice president of sales and business development for Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit.
“It’s not a bumper crop, but it’s also not a significantly short crop, either. A good, manageable crop.”
Pear Bureau Northwest projected the crop will be close to 18 million boxes, down about 9% from the five-year average. The total was an upgrade from the June 2 estimate, which predicted volume would be off about 2% from the last crop.
Some grower-shippers expected their volume to be about the same as 2016-17 or a little higher, and others said their crop was down.
Bosc production is significantly down, with the bureau projecting a 19% drop from last season and a 16% drop from the five-year average.
Harvest was expected to start two or three weeks later than last season, with growers planning to begin picking bartletts around mid-August. Anjous were estimated to start around the beginning of September.
Bureau CEO Kevin Moffitt said fruit size should be good for the domestic market in particular, with 70s, 80s and 90s available.
Some growers said fruit may be a bit smaller than last season, at least for bartletts, with the later-harvesting pears still having time to size up.
In general, companies were pleased with the crop they were seeing.
“Fruit quality looks excellent, so we should have good numbers of premium pears. We’re really excited about that,” said Ed Weathers, vice president and sales manager for Duckwall Fruit.