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Chris Komorek

BY CHRIS KOMOREK

Better sized fruit and more of it

Favourable summer conditions encourage optimism for upcoming US apple and pear season

Better sized fruit and more of it

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Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA) has forecast a bumper upcoming apple season, with Gala estimated to make up 23 per cent of the total crop.

The season is anticipated to produce 137.3m standard 40lb (18kg) cartons, an 18 per cent increase on 2018 levels, of which 116.7m cartons were produced. 

WSTFA president, Jon DeVaney, said its members are anticipating an ample crop with a good mix of varieties, “Favourable summer growing weather means that Washington growers are expecting a crop with excellent quality and finish.”

Red Delicious is projected to follow closely behind Gala, with 20 per cent of production, while Fuji (13 per cent), Granny Smith and Honey Crisp (12 per cent) and Cripps Pink (5 per cent) make up the other key varieties.

Organic apple production is forecast to make up 13 per cent of the total, representing as 18.3m cartons, however not all organic production is packed and marketed as organic.

Meanwhile, Pear Beaurea Northwest, based in Portland, Oregon has revised its season estimate released in May, predicting an 8 per cent increase in pear production across Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon’s Mid-Columbia and Medford districts.

The 8 per cent increase represents an additional 1.3m standard carton (20kg) equivalents, or 408,800 tonnes. The increase puts the season estimate at 1 per cent higher than the five-year average, but 1 per cent lower when compared to 2018.

President and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW), Kevin Moffitt, said fruit size had increased over the last two months, “Growers are reporting large, beautiful fruit on the trees with sizes that are in demand from retailers in the US and Canada.”

“With ample larger sized pears, there will also be plenty of smaller fruit to fill the demand for bagged pears and for the export markets that prefer smaller fruit,” said Moffitt.

Green Anjou is the leading variety, accounting for 51 per cent of the total Northwest crop, while Green Bartlett (26 per cent), Bosc (13 per cent) and Red Anjou (6 per cent) make up the remaining fruit. 11 per cent is anticipated to be organic.

Pear harvesting is due to begin in August and carry through until September, while apple harvesting begins at the same time, but is anticipated to continue through to November. 

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