As has been the case with much of California’s summer fruit this season, the pear deal will start a week or so later than last year, but more in line with traditional start dates.

No quality problems were anticipated.

Scully Packing Co. LLC, Finley, Calif., should start its red crimsons and river bartletts July 17, followed by organic bartletts two days later, said David Thiessen, sales manager.

Mountain bartletts and bosc pears should be ready Aug. 1, and the French butter and seckel varieties are due Aug. 28. Mountain bosc, organic bosc, comice and forelle should start Sept. 5.

“We experienced a relatively early bloom. However, weather of late has been unseasonably cool, so harvest has been delayed to a more normal start date,” he said in mid-June.

“Chill hours were good, and we had plenty of rain during the winter, so growing conditions have been good,” he said.

High temperatures during the second part of June also were expected to contribute to the delayed start date.

The company’s total crop yield will be up from last year, and fruit sizing likely will be a little smaller.

Volume should be up on all varieties, Thiessen said.

The Sacramento-based California Pear Advisory Board said this year’s California pear crop should be about 4.3 million 36-pound cartons, up from about 2.4 million boxes last year.

Rivermaid Trading Co., Lodi, Calif., should start its bartlett program the week of July 10, said sales manager Kyle Persky.

“Everything seems to be trending a little bit later than the last few years,” he said.

“The new normal for bartletts for the last few years is around the Fourth of July,” Persky said. “It used to be around the 15th.”

Sun sprite, an early green pear similar to the bartlett, was expected to start the week of June 26.

Persky expected a good -quality crop this season.

“We’ve got an outstanding crop on the trees,” he said. “We had perfect bloom weather.”

Rain over the winter and spring helped replenish nutrients in the orchards, he added, and helped flush surface nutrients down through the soil.

“It made the trees happy and healthy,” he said.

Mount Vernon, Wash.-based Viva Tierra Organic Inc., which also markets pears from California, started July 1 last year and expects to start July 10 this year, salesman Paul McCaffrey said.

Viva Tierra ships organic bartlett pears and some bosc and gold russet bosc.

Larelle Miller, sales manager for David J. Elliot & Son, Courtland, Calif., was a bit concerned about the high temperatures in the region in late June, when temperatures were forecast to top 100 degrees for several consecutive days.

“Anything over 100 degrees for any length of time can slow things down a little bit,” she said. “We’re hoping that doesn’t affect us too much.”

The company expected to start its red pears July 3 or 4 and bartletts around July 10, a couple of days later than usual.

The hot weather should not damage the fruit, she said, but it might slow the sizing process.

Crown Jewels Produce Co., Fresno, Calif., should start marketing pears around July 10, a little later than usual because of the cool weather followed by excessive heat, salesman Stephen Thomason said.

California has the reputation for providing “America’s first pear” for three reasons, Persky said.

It is the first pear to come into production each season, bartletts were first planted in California more than 100 years ago, and bartlett pears are the first choice among consumers, he said.

“When you do surveys among consumers, it’s the preferred variety,” Persky said. “The king of the category.”

 
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