Pear Bureau Northwest announced in a news release the first official fresh pear crop estimate for the 2019-20 season. Pear growers and producers from Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon’s Medford and Mid-Columbia districts anticipate harvesting 17.3 million 44-pound box equivalents, or approximately 380,000 tons of fresh pears.

The estimate marks a 9 percent decrease from the 2018 harvest and is 6 percent below the five-year average.

“This year’s initial crop estimate has come in lower than last year, but is nonetheless looking to be a solid crop,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest.

Pick dates for the coming harvest are projected to be about a week later than the 2018-19 season, staying close to the historical average.

Of the leading Northwest varieties, the estimates include 8.8 million standard boxes of Green Anjou, 4.4 million standard boxes of Green Bartlett, 2.2 million standard boxes of Bosc and approximately 1 million standard boxes of Red Anjou.

The organic pear crop is expected to come in at 1.76 million standard boxes, or 38,800 tons, which is 10 percent of the total Northwest crop. The estimate marks a 20 percent increase in organic pears available to the market, compared to the 2018 harvest.

“The industry is comprised of nearly 900 grower families, with 50 packing houses and 25 sales organizations devoted to producing, packing and marketing the highest quality pears in the world with a taste profile that is truly exceptional,” Moffitt said.

The crop estimate was compiled during the annual Pear Bureau Northwest meeting held in Portland, Oregon, on May 30.

—by Jonelle Mejica