NORTHWEST FRESH PEAR INDUSTRY’S 2011 CROP ESTIMATE PROJECTS A REBOUND FROM LAST SEASON’S SHORT CROP
Initial estimates indicate a full-size crop of excellent quality from Washington and Oregon
PORTLAND, Oregon - June 7, 2011 – As the branches of Washington and Oregon’s pear trees continue to grow heavy with fruit, the Northwest pear industry is projecting a 2011 harvest of approximately 19.2 million standard 44-lb box equivalents (or 422,166 tons) of pears. This estimate is approximately 5% larger than the five-year average, and 8% larger than last year’s short crop.
Due to cool and wet weather conditions this spring, harvest is anticipated to begin one to two weeks later than normal, starting in mid-to-late August with the Starkrimson variety being picked first followed by other summer/fall varieties like the Bartlett. Winter pear varieties such as the Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, and Seckel will be picked from early September through mid-October. The quality of the fruit looks excellent, with no significant issues affecting the crop to date.
Green Anjou pears, the most abundantly grown variety in the Pacific Northwest, are showing a projected increase of 6% when compared to 2010, which is a 7% increase when compared to the five-year average. A number of other pear varieties are experiencing significant growth when compared to last season: growers are expecting the Bosc pear crop to increase by 27% over last year’s total, and are also projecting the Comice variety to grow by 36%. Red-skinned pears like the Red Anjou and Red Bartlett are estimated to increase by 7% and 10% respectively.
The top three varieties in terms of production remain the same as in previous years; Green Anjou pears are anticipated to make up 54% of the total 2011 crop, and Bartlett and Bosc pears are expected to yield 19% and 15% respectively.
In terms of organic pear production, projections show that the Pacific Northwest will continue its overall growth trend this season with a total of 737,000 standard 44-lb box equivalents (16,214 tons) of organic pears in the 2011 harvest, an increase of 2.3% when compared to 2010 and a 14% increase over the five-year average. The Green Anjou and Bartlett remain the most abundant two organic pear varieties, with the Green Anjou projected yield at 352,324 organic standard 44-lb box equivalents, and the Green Bartlett estimated at 187,900 for 2011.
With this full crop of excellent quality, Pear Bureau Northwest’s president and CEO, Kevin Moffitt, states that he is confident the marketing programs planned for the forthcoming season will be effective in helping to move the crop. “We have a wealth of effective, targeted promotions on tap to market this crop across the U.S. and around the globe. Pears continue to be a popular fruit choice among consumers the world over, and our programs are poised to help increase demand and consumption while helping to ensure success for retailers and foodservice operators,” said Moffitt.
Key areas in this season’s domestic marketing program include an increased emphasis on consumer marketing and advertising to help raise awareness about pear ripening and usage, and a strong season-long retail push beginning with tactics to support the crop as soon as marketable volumes are available. The Pear Bureau will continue to use its comprehensive, proprietary pear category data to custom-tailor merchandising and promotional plans for retailers nationwide. An integrated PR and communications program enhances ongoing activities with media outreach, recipe development for both consumers and foodservice, and by continuing to grow the online presence for USA Pears on www.usapears.org and among social media outlets, including a new mobile website that will help shoppers take advantage of QR code technology at retail.
The Pear Bureau will engage in export promotions in 39 countries worldwide, with eighteen international marketing representatives coordinating promotions for USA Pears with activities targeted for each country’s market. With the current season’s success in export markets due to economic recovery in many countries and the U.S. dollar remaining in positive trading range, the Pear Bureau will carry this momentum into the forthcoming season. The top export markets for USA Pears will remain Mexico, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, the UAE, Hong Kong, and India, which is one of the strongest growth markets for the industry. Special promotions planned include the “Lazy Town” promotion in Mexico and the “US Fresh Fruit Showcase,” which successfully launched in India and Indonesia two seasons ago and will now be adopted for the Singapore market, and potentially China if USA Pears are granted access during this season. This activity will include in-store promotions with key retailers in each of the targeted countries as well as PR events for consumers. The “Lazy Town” Promotion will include in-store promotional activities involving the “Lazy Town” kids’ television show characters, TV advertorials and special POS materials for participating retailers. In addition, season-long marketing programs will be customized for retailers in Mexico, using the Pear Bureau’s proprietary pear category data system which provides insight specific to the Mexican market.
About Pear Bureau Northwest
Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh USA Pears grown in Washington and Oregon, home to 84% of the US fresh pear crop. The Bureau represents 1,600 growers and develops national and international markets for Northwest pear distribution. For more information, visit www.usapears.org.
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Cristie Mather, Director of Communications
Pear Bureau Northwest prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, or disability. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Pear Bureau at (503) 652-9720.