Fresh Pear Crop Expected To Be Down
Pear Bureau Northwest is out with its first fresh pear crop estimate for the 2019-20 season across Washington and Oregon. And growers from Central Washington, northern Oregon and the Medford area anticipate harvesting 17.3 million 44 pound boxes this season, which comes out to 380,000 tons. The estimate marks a 9% drop from the 2018 harvest, and 6% off the five year average.
The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 38,800 tons, which is 10% of the total Northwest crop.
"This year's initial crop estimate has come in lower than last year, but is nonetheless looking to be a solid crop," stated Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of PBNW. "For retailers, there are numerous opportunities for growth in the pear category, and we are providing retailers with the customized data and insight needed to set up the most effective promotions to take advantage of the profit potential of Northwest pears."
Pick dates for the coming harvest are projected to be about a week later than the 2018-19 season, staying close to the historical average. Starkrimson are expected to be picked in the first two weeks of August, with the Bartlett harvest expected in mid-August. Anjou is expected to happen in last week of August in all districts except for Mid-Columbia, expected in early September. Bosc and Comice harvest will begin mid-August and span through the first half of September. Finally, Concorde, Forelle, and Seckel will be picked August and September across the four growing districts.
Out of the leading varieties, the estimates for this season are 8.8 million standard boxes for Green Anjou (about 51% of total Northwest fresh pear crop), 4.4 million standard boxes of Green Bartlett (26% of the total crop), and 2.2 million Bosc (13% of the total crop). Red Anjou will represent 6% of the crop with a potential of around 1 million standard boxes.
The Green Anjou crop is showing a projected decrease of 6% compared to the larger crop in 2018, and down 5% from a five-year average. Growers estimate that the Green Bartlett pear crop will be down 4% compared to last season but will still see a 3% increase over the five-year average. The Bosc crop is estimated to be 30% lower than last season's large crop and 23% below the five-year average, while Red Anjou production is expected to be 6% higher than last year and 3% above the five-year average. The industry will also produce promotable quantities of specialty pears such as Comice, Seckel, Concord and Forelle that can please consumers in their more limited seasonality.
The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 1.76 million standard boxes (38,800 tons), which is 10% of the total Northwest crop. The estimate will mark a 20% increase in organic pears available to the market compared to the 2018 harvest. Out of the entire organic crop, growers project 651,975 standard boxes of Green Anjou, with the Bartlett and Bosc crops sizes projected at 645,350 and 272,350 standard boxes, respectively.
"The flavor of a ripe pear is spectacular and the industry is committed to providing consumers with an exceptional eating experience," stated Moffitt. "We will be grabbing the attention of consumers through a strong social media program and messaging through media and influencers while working to keep pears in front of today's consumer. We will be connecting with them through online shopping sites, promoting meal kits with pears, targeted advertising and more."
Following discussion about opportunities to improve the eating experience, the meeting concluded with a shared commitment from all members of the industry, including growers, to give consumers the most delicious pears possible throughout the entirety of the season. "The industry is comprised of nearly 900 grower families, with 50 packing houses and 25 sales organizations devoted to producing, packing and marketing the highest quality pears in the world with a taste profile that is truly exceptional," reinforced Moffitt.
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