In Jay Grandy’s last meeting as the manager of the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association, he described the canned Bartlett industry as currently oversupplied, with a larger than usual December inventory at Northwest canners coupled with an increase in pressure from Chinese and South African imports.

Jay Grandy

Jay Grandy

“I think they have their work cut out for them,” said Grandy, referring to processors. Brandy will retire early next week after nearly 20 years heading the Yakima, Washington, based oganization that represents processing interests of Northwest pear growers.

Speaking to a couple of dozen growers and industry representatives on Feb. 25, at the group’s annual meeting at Yakima’s Howard Johnson hotel, Grandy did not share specific inventory numbers per an agreement with the three Northwest canners, but the tons of canned pears in storage in December, the most recent count, was about 30 percent higher than the same period last year.

The inventory should have no short-term effect on growers, who sell to Del Monte of Yakima, Washington, and Neil Jones Food Company of Vancouver, Washington, on a three-year contract with set a price each year. That price will be $340 per ton this year and rise to $360 in 2017.

Seneca, the only other pear plant canner in the Northwest, is not part of the contract.

Friends and colleagues surprised Grandy, 76, with a cake to honor his retirement today.

He has worked 31 years in the canned pear industry.