US: Northwest pear shipments off to fast start

Although estimates for this year's Pacific Northwest pear crop put volume at a lower level than last year's record crop, the size of the crop is near normal quantities. Strong demand has also caused shipments of fruit to be ahead of last year's pace.

The latest internal estimates by the Pear Bureau Northwest have the region's pear crop close to the volume of a normal-sized crop, according to Kevin Moffit, president of the Pear Bureau. Although they anticipate this year's totals to be about 8 percent lower than last year's crop, Moffit pointed out that the difference is mostly due to the large size of last year's crop.

“It's a good crop this year,” he said. “The crop is slightly below the five-year average, about two percent lower.” Although it's not a significantly short crop this year, a lack of large quantities has been driving up prices. Moffit estimated that prices for pears have been up about 10 to 15 percent from last year, showing good demand for the fruit that's been picked. That demand has made for good movement.

“Demand has been very good,” said Moffit. “We've shipped 17 percent of the crop to date versus 11 percent of the crop which we shipped at this time last year.”

“It's been a good beginning of the season,” he added. “We've had a lot of promotional activities and we're seeing good activity.”

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