Out of the orchards

The pears had never been warmer than they were last week in Laraway and Sons orchards in Pine Grove.

Temperatures in the 80s eased the harvest of Anjou pears on the 100 acres of trees off Eastside Road, where 24 pickers quickly filled bags and bins with large green pears.

“Quality and size are good, but quantity is down,” Jon Laraway said. “Most of the lower valley is finding quantity is down; it varies year to year.”

The orchard sustained its 2001 labor level — 24 pickers.

“Some folks have been picking with us for a number of years. It’s kind of hard to say, ‘sorry, we can’t hire you,’” Laraway said.

The quantity decrease came as no surprise, he said, given the light “bloom,” or low number of blossoms in April.

“This year we were lighter on Bartletts, and Anjous appear to be following suit,” Laraway said. He predicted that because of consistent weather conditions around the valley, “this year we might not have as much of a time gap between the upper and lower valley.”

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