Northwest pear growers have released their latest crop estimate for the 2019-20 season, 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.
“The increase from the initial estimate is due to the fruit sizing up very well in the last two months. 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,” says Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest, a nonprofit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon.
Picking is just about to begin throughout the four growing regions of the Northwest and will continue throughout August and September. Pick dates for the 2019-20 season are later than last season, but close to the historical average. Starkrimson, Comice, Bosc, Forelle, Seckel and Anjou varieties will be picked, with harvest completed by late September.
Based on the current estimates for this season, Green Anjou will be the leading variety 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 standard boxes, 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.