The Washington Bartlett pear season has just begun.
“The supply looks very similar to last year’s harvest,” says Scott Marboe with Starr Ranch Growers based in Wenatchee, Wa. “The 2019-2020 crop looks excellent. The size range of the pears is wide and variable with plenty for everyone across the size spectrum.”
Starr’s pears come from the greater Hood River in Washington, a region Marboe says is known for producing good pears. “The rich soils from Mount Hood coupled with the great growing conditions along the Hood and Columbia rivers make this an ideal setting. We have orchards dating back 105 years,” says Marboe.
While the Bartlett harvest just began yesterday, Marboe notes that harvest will continue on and make its way through other varieties into October including Anjous, Comice, Bosc, Seckles and more. One challenge that’s foreseen is some of the smaller sizes in Anjous.
Meanwhile on the demand side, demand for pears is coming from throughout North America, Central and South America as well as Asia. However, the current U.S.-China tariff war will have an effect. “Losing China will hurt no question. We were having good success in that market up until the tariffs started hurting us,” says Marboe.
That said, consumption rates are increasing every year for pears. “The conditioning programs we have put in place with many of our domestic retailers have really shown positive growth,” says Marboe, adding that new products are also being introduced including pouch bags and new sustainable packaging. These are being introduced on trial in a few select markets.