The Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW) says the increase follows an “unusually small crop” last year, and will be equal to the five-year average.
“The growers and shippers of USA Pears are pleased to see a solid crop of excellent quality pears on the trees,” PBNW president and CEO Kevin Moffitt said.
“The pear category offers retailers an unmatched opportunity for growth in the produce department. We are providing retailers with category and consumer insights and offering effective promotions to help them capitalize on the opportunities.”
Pick dates for the coming harvest are projected to be roughly a week earlier than last season, staying close to the historical average.
Starkrimson are expected to be picked in early August, with the Bartlett harvest expected in mid-August.
Anjou is expected to happen in late August in all districts while Bosc and Comice varieties will be harvested beginning in September and span through early October.
Finally, Concorde, Forelle and Seckel will be picked in September and October across the four growing districts.
Out of the leading varieties, the estimates for this season are 9.3 million standard boxes for Green Anjou (about 49.6% of total Northwest fresh pear crop), 4.6 million standard boxes of Bartlett (24%), and 3.2 million Bosc (16.7%). Red Anjou will represent 5.6% of the crop with a potential 1.1 million standard boxes.
The Green Anjou crop is showing a projected increase of 10% compared to the smaller crop in 2017, but down 5% from a five-year average.
Growers estimate that the Bartlett pear crop will be up 24% compared to last season, marking a 5% increase over a five-year average. The Bosc crop is estimated to be 42% higher than last season’s small crop and 8% above the five-year average, while Red Anjou production is expected to be 7% higher than last year and 5% above the five-year average.
The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 1.64 million standard boxes (36,000MT), which is 8.7% of the total Northwest crop.
Newly transitioned orchards and a strong pear crop overall have contributed to the growth in organic pears, PBNW said. Out of the entire organic crop, growers project 583,500 standard boxes of Green Anjou, with the Bartlett and Bosc crops sizes projected at 564,700 and 321,050 standard boxes, respectively.
“A ripe pear is exceptional and the industry is committed to providing consumers with a fantastic eating experience,” said Moffitt.
“We will be grabbing the attention of consumers through a strong social media program and messaging through media and influencers while working to keep pears in front of today’s consumer. We will be connecting with them through online shopping sites, promoting meal kits with pears, targeted advertising and more.”