Following a positive campaign for Greek pears, a lack of hailstorms and excessive rain bode well for the new season, but the threat of climatic disturbances will always remain, according to Paris Karastergios of Karastergiou Bros

Greece enjoyed a good season for pears, as did most of the Northern Hemisphere, according to Paris Karastergios, import-export coordinator at Greek trader Karastergiou Bros. “We had no quality issues this past season,” he says. “Volumes were a bit lower, but interest has been high, including on the domestic market.”

Volumes were down by around 20-25 per cent compared with an average season, says Karastergios. “The picking starts in late July for our earliest variety, but continues until mid-August for the main volumes,” he reveals. “There is still some produce left from last year. We have some Blanquilla in storage. The season has been very good up to this point.” 

Paris Karastergios, Karastergiou Bros

Paris Karastergios

As for the coming season, it remains early to predict, he says, but an absence of hailstorms and excessive rain can only be good news. 

“The pears are starting to blossom,” explains Karastergios. “We think it will be a good season as long as nothing bad occurs. Hail is the biggest threat as it’s still early. It also seems to be hotter than usual. We had extreme heat last summer. Pears can generally withstand the heat as long as they are well watered, but temperature records are being broken all the time.”

The company’s main volumes come from the Santa Maria variety, which is also cultivated in Turkey and Italy. “We also produce Blanquilla, Ercolini and Coscia, which is the earliest variety,” says Karastergios. “We are also trying to find other varieties that work for growers in Greece. We are a bit behind other countries in terms of the race for new varieties. There is no Greek Conference pear for example, and that’s the biggest variety in Europe. There is one variety developed here in Greece that is quite close to the Williams pear. We are also in discussions to possibly produce other varieties in the future.”

Karastergiou Bros also produces apricots, for which the main concern is the warmer weather during the winter period. “Volumes are less than expected due to the lack of chilling hours,” he says. “Last year, there was a lot of rain and hail, which was not good for the quality of Greek stonefruit, so hopefully this year will be better.”