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Washington pear harvest looking more productive this year

It's some pears. Just a pile of pears.
Niklaus Morin, via Flickr/Creative Commons

While Washington is known for its apple production, it's actually also the largest pear producer in the nation. And the amount of pears harvested each year doesn't vary as much year to year as apple production.

“Pears tend to be much more stable producers, and so this year we are looking at a pear crop in the Northwest that will be about 8 percent larger than last year," said Jon DaVaney, of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. "So an increase, but still about five point eight to six percent below the five year average.”

This year's harvest is estimated at about 15 million 44-pound boxes of fruit, DaVaney added. About 12 percent of that is grown organically, something more consumers are finding attractive.

One aspect of the harvest is timing it so the fruit so it can be marketed as it ripens. After harvest they go into cold storage, so when ready for shipment they come out of storage with ripening delayed.

“The flesh of pears is so sensitive and subject to bruising that you often want to wait to ship the pears and leave room in that window so they ripen after arrival at the consumer," DaVaney said. "That means the consumer has to give them a few days after they get home to be fully ripened.”

The weather this year is cooperating with the harvest, which is expected to be completed by October 15th.