Pear crop looks good

Forecast includes 9 percent increase in Bartlett yield

Representatives of the Northwest pear industry met last week in Portland to project the size of the 2013 fresh pear harvest. With reports of a crop of excellent quality from the Pacific Northwest growing regions of Wenatchee and Yakima, Wash., and Mid-Columbia and Medford in Oregon, the total projection is showing approximately 19.8 million standard 44-pound box equivalents (or 436,410 tons) of pears for the fresh market.

This estimate is 4 percent larger than the five-year average, and 2 percent larger than last year’s crop, which would make the forthcoming crop the third-largest on record.

Average harvest timing is expected, beginning in early August with the Starkrimson variety being picked first followed by Bartletts. 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 weather issues affecting the crop to date.

Green Anjou pears, the most abundantly grown variety in the Northwest, are showing a projected increase of 3 percent when compared to 2012, which makes for a Green Anjou crop size that is 2 percent larger than the five-year average.

Bartlett pears are projected to decrease by 5 percent when compared to last season’s large crop, but the crop yield will still be 9 percent larger than the five-year average.

Growers are expecting the Bosc pear crop to increase by 7 percent over last year’s yield. The size of the Red Anjou pear crop is expected to increase by 6 percent, which would make it 14 percent larger than the five-year average crop size for that variety.

Growers are projecting the yield to double for other red winter pears, including varieties like the Red Angelo, for an increase of 104 percent when compared to the 2012 yield, a 76 percent increase over the five-year average.

The top three varieties in terms of production remain the same as in previous years: Green Anjou pears are anticipated to make up 53 percent of the total 2012 crop, and Bartlett and Bosc pears are expected to yield 22 percent and 15 percent respectively.

For organic pear production, projections show that the Northwest will continue its overall growth trend this season with a total of 869,885 standard 44-pound box equivalents (19,785 tons) of organic pears in the 2013 harvest, an increase of 3 percent when compared to 2012 and a 14 percent 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 381,500 organic standard 44-pound box equivalents, and the Green Bartlett estimated at 285,600 for 2013.

“This year’s crop looks to be of very manageable size,” said Pear Bureau Northwest’s President and CEO Kevin Moffitt. “With no major weather issues to date the industry is projecting a crop with excellent quality and fruit size to meet the demands of the domestic and export markets.

“A full range of promotions are planned as well as consumer advertising, social media and PR to continue to expand consumer awareness and demand,” he said.

Key areas in this season’s domestic marketing program include consumer advertising designed 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 supports retail promotions with ongoing activities emphasizing nutrition, recipe development for both consumers and foodservice, and by continuing to grow the online presence for USA Pears on and among social media outlets.

The Pear Bureau will engage in export promotions in 38 countries worldwide, with 18 international marketing representatives coordinating promotions for USA Pears with activities targeted for each country’s market. 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 are planned for the Chinese market, which granted access to USA Pears for the very first time in February 2013 and is expected to become a top 10 market for the Northwest pear industry within the next three years.

The Pear Bureau will also continue its partnership with Fox Pictures and Universal Pictures in conducting joint promotions in Mexico and Central America. During these promotions, the Pear Bureau helps promote a kid-friendly movie like “Despicable Me” or “Epic” via billboards and in-store promotions. In return, the Pear Bureau receives usage rights of the characters for the billboards, POS materials and bags.

In addition, season-long marketing programs will be customized for retailers in Mexico, using the Pear Bureau’s proprietary pear category data system that provides insight specific to the Mexican market.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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