( File photo )

The latest estimate for the 2019 Northwest pear crop is up 8% from the early May forecast.

The current estimate for Northwest pears, according to a news release, is 18.6 million boxes, 8% up from the initial crop estimate of 17.3 million boxes issued in May, and 1% less than the 2018 crop.

The estimate is compiled with data from Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon’s Mid-Columbia and Medford districts, according to the release.

“The increase from the initial estimate is due to the fruit sizing up very well in the last two months,” 

Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest, said in the release. “Growers are reporting large, beautiful fruit on the trees with sizes that are in demand from retailers in the U.S. and Canada.”

Moffitt said in the release that there will also be plenty of smaller fruit to fill the demand for bagged pears and for the export markets that prefer smaller fruit.

Organic pear numbers are included in the overall estimate and organic fruit numbers continue to grow with more acres in transition, according to the release.

The 2019 Northwest pear organic estimate is 1.9 million standard boxes (42,000 tons), making up 11% of the total Northwest crop. 

Picking will soon begin throughout the four growing regions of the Northwest and will continue throughout August and September, according to the release.

Pick dates for the 2019-20 season are later than last season, but close to the historical average. Starkrimson harvest was set to begin about Aug. 10 in most districts, and the release said, with the bartlett picking starting about Aug. 10 in mid-Columbia and by mid-August in the other districts. Later the release said harvest of comice, bosc, forelle and seckel will begin along with the anjou harvest. Harvest will be completed by late September.

The current estimate projects:

  • Green anjou is estimated at 9.5 million standard boxes (about 51% of total Northwest fresh pear crop);
  • Green bartlett is estimated at 4.8 million standard boxes (about 26% of the total crop), and Bosc with 2.5 million (about 13% of the total crop). There will be 1.1 million standard boxes of Red Anjou, representing about 6% of the crop.
  • Organic output is projected at 705,350 boxes of green anjou, with the green bartlett and bosc crops sizes projected at 700,550 and 273,400 standard boxes, respectively.