A1 pears and irrigation.JPG

red Anjou pears, a mainstay of the Hood River fruit industry, glisten in irrigation in this late August photograph along Sunday Drive in Odell.

Northwest pear growers have released their latest crop estimate for the 2019-20 season. The estimate is based on data reported from Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon’s Mid-Columbia and Medford districts.
While the initial season estimate — reported in May — came in at 17.3 million standard box equivalents, the current estimate is around 18.6 million standard box equivalents, or 408,800 U.S. tons. This marks an 8 percent increase from the initial crop estimate, coming in 1 percent higher than the five-year average and 1 percent less than the 2018 harvest.
“Solid crop, good numbers,” is how Mike Doke, executive director of Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers, described the 2019 Hood River Valley crop.
“It’s been an excellent season for growing both cherries in Wasco County and pears for us here, with moderate, nice weather, no huge hailstorms like last summer,” Doke said. The harvest of one of Hood River’s largest pear varieties, Bartletts, finished last week, and Anjous are underway and a few weeks from completion.
Doke estimated an increase from 3.5 million,  44-pound boxes of Anjous in 2018 to 4.2 million this year.
“The increase from the initial estimate is due to the fruit sizing up very well in the last two months,” stated Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW).
Moffitt said, “Growers are reporting large, beautiful fruit on the trees with sizes that are in demand from retailers in the U.S. and Canada. With ample larger sized pears, there will also be plenty of smaller fruit to fill the demand for bagged pears and for the export markets that prefer smaller fruit.”
Pick dates for the 2019-20 season are later than last season, but close to the historical average. Starkrimson harvest is beginning this week in most districts. Later in the month, harvest of Comice, Bosc, Forelle and Seckel will begin along with Anjou harvest, with harvest completed by late September.
Based on the current estimates for this season, Green Anjou will be the leading variety picked with 9.5 million standard boxes (about 51 percent of total Northwest fresh pear crop), with Green Bartlett following at 4.8 million standard boxes (about 26 percent of the total crop), and Bosc with 2.5 million (about 13 percent of the total crop). There will be 1.1 million standard boxes of Red Anjou, representing about 6 percent of the crop.
Organic pear numbers are included in the overall estimate and their numbers continue to grow with more acres in transition. This year’s organic estimate is 1.9 million stand-ard boxes (42,000 tons), making up 11 percent of the total Northwest crop. Looking at the entire organic crop, growers project 705,350 standard boxes of Green Anjou, with the Green Bartlett and Bosc crops sizes projected at 700,550 and 273,400 standard boxes, respectively.
Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon, home to 88 percent of the U.S. commercial fresh pear crop. The bureau represents close to 900 grower families and partners with outlets throughout the world in an effort to increase overall success with the pear category. The organization provides marketing and merchandising that is customized specifically for each retail organization, using its pear consumer research findings as well as individual store analysis using an in-house data system that measures pear category performance nationwide and third-party research to show retailers how they perform versus their competition, said a press release.
Retailers who are interested in partnering with Pear Bureau Northwest can contact info@usapears.com or 1-800-547-4610, as well as visit USAPears.org or Trade.USAPears.org.

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