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Jack van Kessel, Van Kessel Fruit:

"Far more Conference pears going to Italy than before"

The hot summer left its mark on the pear supply, says Jack van Kessel of Van Kessel Fruit in the Netherlands. "You have to pay close attention to quality. The hot weather means the pears harvested later have some issues, including internal quality. Because of this, you must keep your finger well on the pulse."

"The further into the season, the more important the harvesting time. Post-harvest treatments also differ between the batches that make it to market. The better storage pears are pretty much distributed by now, but there will always be free market batches, even if you're never quite 100% sure what the stocks look like. And if there are shortages, prices can skyrocket, depending on quality and size, but also on the grower's certification."

Divided market
"Current demand for pears, Conference as well as Comice, is generally good. Lukas pears are a different story, though; this pricing has unfortunately not managed to take off all season and has been under pressure. Large Conference and Comice are priced very well, but there aren't many of those. The smaller ones are lagging. That's causing a split in the market. Growers with larger pears can make good money. But some growers couldn't irrigate, so their pears' growth lagged, like the small sizes," explains Jack.

"Large caliber Conference pears are selling for €1 to €1,05 and the 65 sorting for slightly less. You get much less for the 55-60 sorting, though. Still, I'm optimistic about exports. Good volumes are holding firm to places like Germany, France, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. Italy, in particular, is taking far more Conference pears than in previous years."

"The pear market may be picking up, especially for large sizes. This season, the apple market is, however, lagging considerably," says Jack.

"Plenty of apples are available, but there are quality issues again. The firmness and shelf life of varieties like Elstar are declining sharply."

"For some growers, that's reason enough to clear out large volumes at favorable prices. But that depresses good apples' prices," Jack concludes.

For more information:
Jack van Kessel
Van Kessel Fruit B.V.
143-145 Provincialeweg
5334 JG, Velddriel, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 418 631 231

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