Pear supplies out of the Pacific Northwest look similar to last year’s volume.
“On a longer average, the crop is lower than what we usually see. But it is in line with last year’s crop size,” says Sean Naumes of Naumes, Inc. based in Medford, OR. “The winter pears are about the same and maybe the summer pears are a bit more in terms of volume. Our production is pretty consistent across all the varietals.”
Sizing of the fruit is only slightly smaller though. “Some of the pears we harvested earlier were smaller. But as we got later into the season, the fruit sized pretty well,” says Naumes. Harvest on pears started the last week in July and finished up by the end of September and that timing was fairly normal.
Greater demand this year
In terms of demand, Naumes says there’s been good movement on pears. “California starts before us and movement of their short crop has been brisk. They didn’t have a huge carryover of their crop into the Northwest season enabling the Northwest to move more volume earlier,” he says. He adds that with COVID-19, coming into the season there was a slight elevation in demand because more consumers are at home and getting more fresh produce from the store. He notes that summer pears including Starkrimson and Bartletts have moved through and Naumes is moving more into the winter pear varieties including Anjous and Boscs. “In Boscs, we saw some pretty steady movement early this year so that was nice,” says Naumes.
Consumer interest in bagged product also continues to be strong and Naumes has invested in bagging equipment to meet that demand as well. As a first, the company is also doing clamshell-packed pears this year.
Cody Bass, quality control manager for Naumes with the company's new bagging machines.
All of this leaves pricing slightly better than it has been in the past few years.
Looking ahead, Naumes sees smooth movement. “We’re expecting things to stay pretty steady into December which is the holiday season. Christmas and even into the new year always have some fluctuations,” he adds.