Washington Fruit Growers to feature expanded pear volume

From The Packer | 31 August 2022

Overview of pears from Washington in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on August 30, 2022. 

With the purchase of the Stadelman Fruit operations in Odell, Ore., earlier this summer, Yakima-based Washington Fruit Growers expects its total pear volume to be up 25%, says Steve Smith.

pear volumes by history 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Smith, director of marketing, said the firm’s pears are grown and packed in the Hood River, Ore., growing district, with packing facilities in Odell and Bingen, Wash. The company’s primary varieties are d’anjou, bartlett and bosc, but also include starkrimson, red anjou, comice, seckel and forelle. Washington Fruit also grows and packs organic d’anjou, bartlett and bosc.

“The most recent crop estimate for the Northwest, as of Aug. 25, is to have similar total volume as last year and down just 2% from the 5-year average,” Smith said. “Harvest for us has started two weeks later than last year based on our cool spring and delayed bloom, and we are expecting pear size to be down at least a size as a result of the same cool spring conditions.”

pear prices by variety a 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Smith said Washington Fruit continues to expand its preconditioned anjou programs, maximizing the use of  its up-to-date ripening rooms in the company’s Bingen, Wash., packing facilities.  “Additionally, with pear size down, we will be promoting both 2-pound and 3-pound bag programs,” he added.

Inflation is a headache for growers, though.

“Virtually all input costs are up for growers — labor, fertilizer, fuel and more,” he said. “Recouping those costs in fob prices can be challenging when so many fresh fruit options are available on the shelf.”

One big reason for optimism is the quality of Northwest pears and the commitment of the marketer’s growers and packers to offer an exceptional eating experience, Smith said.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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