The Northwest pear harvest wrapped up a few months back, in September of 2019, but volumes are still strong on the market. Catherine Gipe-Stewart of Domex Superfresh Growers says: “We started our pear harvest in late July with Starkrimson, and both organic and conventional Bartlett. The timing of the harvest was similar to that of the 2018 crop, and a bit earlier than that of the 2017 crop. We wrapped up the harvest in late September with the Bosc and D’Anjou pears.”
She adds: “Our pears are available throughout the year – it varies based on variety, but we are able to support retailers year-round with conventional supply, and for our organic Anjou pears we are able to supply nearly year-round, from August through April.”
Core varieties experience good demand
Domex Superfresh Growers grows their pears in the Pacific Northwest. The company distributes their pears domestically, but main export markets include Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Gipe-Stewart says: “We grow our pears in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, where the warm days and cool nights create ideal growing conditions. This season we have seen good overall quality, and most notably the flavor and juiciness are really good. Even for the lower grade pears there are opportunities to perform well on certain markets. We are seeing medium to large sizing, though there are plenty of promotional opportunities for bulk and bagged pears.”
The company grows all the core variety pears, specifically the Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Red Anjou, Red Bartlett, Seckel, and Starkrimson, and they also supply Asian pears. Gipe-Stewart says: “The most popular varieties with consumers are the Bartlett, D’Anjou, Bosc, red pears (Starkrimson, Red Anjou, or Red Bartlett), and the Asian pear.”
“The volumes this year for the Northwest are slightly lower, Gipe-Stewart says. “This year the Northwest pear volumes are 17.4MM compared to 18.8 MM last year. But, looking at the last 52 weeks, ending 11/30/19, the pear category is on the rise in volume by +7%. Apple category dollars have risen slightly too, with 1.1%, according to Nielsen data,” she shares.
Large organic offering
Working with both conventional and organic varieties, the company boasts a nearly 40% organic offering for their pears. “In the last 52 weeks, organic pears are up 10.8% in dollars and 14.6% in volume. Organic Bartletts, the top pear in volume and dollars in the last 52 weeks was up 17% for dollars and up 23% for volume. Anjou pears, the second biggest variety in the last 52 weeks also has double digit growth, up 10% in dollars, and up 11% in volume. Organic pears are on the rise, and there is great demand for them,” Gipe-Stewart concludes.