Jun 10, 2015
Pear growers expect ‘solid, manageable’ crop in 2015

Pear Bureau Northwest gave its June projection of the 2015 fresh pear harvest: 20.4 million standard-box equivalents (about 451,000 tons), 2 percent higher than the five-year average but 2 percent lower than last year’s crop.

The estimate was collected from fresh pear growers in Wenatchee and Yakima, Washington, and the mid-Columbia and Medford, Oregon, growing districts.

With relatively mild winter and warm spring conditions in those regions, harvest is expected to be five to seven days earlier than last season, beginning in late July with Starkrimson and followed by Bartlett in early August. Anjou, Red Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle and Seckel will be picked from late August through September. With no major frost issues, crop quality is expected to be excellent, with good fruit size for the domestic and export markets, according to the bureau (PBN).

The top three varieties produced by Northwest growers remain Green Anjou (54 percent of the 2015 crop), Bartlett (21 percent) and Bosc (15 percent).

Harvest of certified organic pears in the Northwest is projected to make up about 5 percent of the 2015 crop, with 974,115 standard boxes (21,430 tons), a decrease of more than 11 percent compared to 2014, but an 8 percent increase over the five-year average. Bartlett and Green Anjou are the two most abundant organic pear varieties, with Bartlett estimated at 301,500 standard boxes and Green Anjou at 377,000 boxes.

“This year’s projection, while down from the last two years, still predicts a solid, manageable pear crop with promotable quantities for both the domestic and export markets,” said Kevin Moffitt, PBN’s president and CEO. “With excellent quality and sizing expected, the pear bureau marketing team already has advertising and promotion plans in place to continue to increase pear consumption worldwide. New consumer research has identified some exciting insights about domestic pear consumers, including that fact that millennials make up the majority of our highest pear purchasers, categorized as those who buy an average of nine pears per purchase. This information, along with customized retail analysis, will be shared with buyers to help increase the profitable pear category.”

PBN will continue to use its comprehensive, proprietary pear category data to custom-tailor merchandising and promotional plans for retailers nationwide. New digital and web-based resources and training will be added to usapears.org to support retailers and wholesalers in the new season.

“We have great success showing retailers how small changes in their fresh pear buying returns strong results at their cash register. By collaborating on attainable goals and objectives, we help retailers and wholesalers improve their pear category performance,” Moffitt said.

For the 2015-16 season, PBN will conduct export promotions in 36 countries worldwide, with 14 international marketing representatives coordinating promotions for USA Pears with both consumer and trade activities targeted for each country’s market. Focus will continue on the top export markets for USA Pears including Mexico, Canada, Colombia, and the UAE, as well as China and India, which remain two of the strongest growth markets for the industry. PBN is also prepared to reintroduce promotional activities in Russia – a former top three export destination – should the market reopen to U.S. exports.

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