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Matthew Roberts - Viva Tierra Organic

Drawn out season for Northwestern organic pear growers

The higher summer heat in the western part of the United States has continued to leave its mark on a number of fruit and vegetable growers. This is also true of organic pear farmers, who have seen their trees struggle this season. Matthew Roberts, of Viva Tierra, explained, "It's been a pretty challenging season. With the warmer than usual weather, the trees have shown signs of stress and the sizing just hasn't been there. They will size up eventually and we're not looking at lower yields just yet, but that sizing will take longer and the season will be extended."

Earlier Bosc varieties slow on the uptake
Some varieties of organic pears have not been affected by the heat as much as others. Earlier season fruit such as Bosc managed to escape the worst of the unseasonably high temperatures and resulted in a relatively normal year. 

"The Bosc that we grow in California has just about finished for the year and the sizes were good there. The Red and Green Bartletts in southern Washington have been the main ones affected by the smaller size," Roberts continued. "Demand has been slower than usual on the Bosc though, whereas the market is looking strong for the Bartlett varieties for this time of year. The current market rate for prime sizes is in the mid $40's for organic Bartletts, and lower $50's for the Bosc."

Optimism for the near term
Things are looking better though for organic pear farmers for the remainder of the season. Roberts said, "The rest of the season is looking optimistic, especially for our River Bartlett and Lake County varieties. Currently, all the smoke that's around the Pacific north-west has actually helped to take the edge off the temperatures as well as to assist in preventing sun burn on the fruit. This is especially true of our apples but the pears are benefitting too."

The future for the organic pear market in the United States is also looking positive. "The market is looking favorable for organic pear growers because there's simply not many of them," Roberts explained. "There has been some market saturation on organic apples. But for pear growers, there aren't huge numbers of them around, so that will mean sustained high prices for those producers moving forward."

For more information: 
Matthew Roberts
Viva Tierra Organic
Tel: +1 (360) 855-0566

Publication date: 9/8/2017
Author: Dennis M. Rettke
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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