Last year, pear growers and processors had the foresight to negotiate a two-year contract and offer stability and price increases to the recovering Bartlett market. But this year, processors agreed to raise prices even further to reflect inflationary costs.

Del Monte and the Neil Jones Food Co., the Northwest’s largest buyers, agreed to raise the price per ton by $15 to $410 for Grade #1 Bartletts for the 2023 season, the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association announced last week.

The growers and processors again agreed to a two-year pricing agreement, with a price of $430 per ton set for Grade #1 Bartletts in 2024.  

“Our farms have seen inflation-driven production costs raise close to 15 percent. The processor community has seen their operation costs go up at a similar rate,” association president B.J. Thurlby wrote in a letter to members. “It is a positive development when both sides of a negotiation see value in increasing the per-ton return to the farm.”

At the Washington State Fruit Commission board meeting on Wednesday, of which Thurlby is also president, he shared the welcome news with industry leaders. Growers and processers see the need to work together to keep the industry stable, he said. 

Steve Carlson, field manager for Del Monte and a member of the commission’s board, agreed. 

“We want to keep pear trees in the ground,” he said.