With estimates calling for a slight boost in volume, the Northwest pear crop is running a little earlier than last year, showing good fruit size and excellent fruit finish.

Pick dates for bartletts began by late July, with anjou harvest expected to begin from mid- to late August in Northwest growing regions.

The Northwest pear industry is expecting the pear crop to total 18.885 million standard boxes, down 6% from the five-year average but 3% above last year, said Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of the Pear Bureau Northwest. The August crop estimate went up about 1% compared with an earlier season forecast, which Moffitt said likely was due to larger fruit this season and a higher fresh packout for bartletts.

The Northwest winter pear crop - consisting of mainly of anjou, bosc, red anjou, comice, seckel, concord, forelle - is forecast to total 14.035 million cartons, unchanged from last year and 9% below the 2015 winter pear crop.

Meanwhile, summer/fall pear varieties - green bartlett, red bartlett and starkrimson - are expected to total 4.85 million cartons, up 11% from 2015 and 1% above the five-year average.

"We are expecting good-sized fruit, especially good for the domestic retail sizes that they like," Moffitt said. Excellent fruit finish is reported, with no widespread damage from hail storms or frost this spring.

The early August fresh crop estimate for Northwest pears showed anjou production at 9.62 million cartons, unchanged from last year but down 11% from the five-year average.

Green bartlett output was rated at 4.45 million cartons, up 11% from 2015 and up 1% from the five-year average.

Bosc output was rated at 3.008 million cartons, down 1% from last year and 2% below the five-year average.

Red anjou production is pegged at 1.015 million cartons, up 6% from last year and unchanged from the five-year average.

The pear crop is very clean, said David Garcia, president of Diamond Fruit Growers, Odell, Ore. Garcia said the Mid-Columbia region suffered higher than normal drop on anjous but the bartlett crop is strong. Peak sizing is expected near 90s, 80s and 100s, slightly bigger than a year ago.

Harvest of bartletts and starkrimson pears was beginning in late July, with winter pears expected to begin in mid-August, Garcia said.

Ed Weathers, vice president and sales manager for Duckwall Fruit, Hood River, Ore,, said harvest is nearly three weeks ahead of average harvest timing and slightly ahead of last year.

"We are excited about the quality of the fruit," he said.

 
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