Chris Walsh and Mike Newell, University of Maryland, report that there is an increased potential for internal browning and breakdown in Olympic Asian pear fruit. Growers are advised to harvest Olympic one to two weeks earlier this year to minimize consumer complaints and ensure adequate storage life, according to Penn State Extension.
Some Olympic Asian pear fruit harvested at the Wye Research and Education Center this week were showing symptoms of internal browning and breakdown (IB). The flesh browning and water-soaked flesh tissue was confined to the flesh just outside the core line. This is not the first year we have noted damage in late-season Asian pears. We believe it may be induced by hot, dry weather in August and September.
Commercial growers reported significant problems with IB in Olympic last year. While some fruit damage was visible at the time of harvest, growers saw a dramatic increase last year during cold storage. In a preliminary trial in 2014, we tested whether fruit color or fruit density of late-harvested pears could be used to cull fruits with internal breakdown. Unfortunately, neither of these visible qualities proved to be an effective predictor of IB.
Like most Asian pears, Olympic can be harvested tree ripe. We suggest that growers should harvest Olympic one to two weeks earlier this year to minimize consumer complaints and ensure adequate storage life.