California Pear Farmers Set to Begin Harvest in Early July Reports California Pear Advisory Board
SACRAMENTO, CA - Soon enough, in produce departments across California, it will be raining pears as the industry’s leading growers ramp up to harvest their crops in early July. As farmers prepare for their harvests, the California Pear Advisory Board recently made an announcement to encourage retailers to jump on these premium supplies.
“California pear harvest appears to be on a normal schedule this year after two years of late harvest timing,” said Matt Hemly, Orchard Manager of Greene and Hemly in Courtland. “We’ve seen pear category sales affected in recent years during July because of our late harvest. This year, we expect to be picking Bartlett pears in the River District within the first weeks in July. Retailers will have no problem getting American grown pears into their stores this year.”
With this lucrative category incoming, grocery stores will be well-positioned for the summer with sales in the produce aisle trending up.
“We want to thank retailers and all of their employees for keeping our food supply moving during this difficult time,” said Richard Elliot, Farmer at Stillwater Orchards. “As we move out of this pandemic, we hope that retailers will support local growers, families, and communities to put America first.”
According to a press release, California pear growers are taking extra steps in their orchards and packing facilities to ensure a safe, healthy supply of fresh pears during this time.
“We employ 450 people in our farms and packing house,” explained Chiles Wilson, Owner of Rivermaid Trading Company, based in Lodi. “We want to make sure we can give them their jobs back this year. It's not just about us as farmers but all the people we employ and their families."
As growers continue to protect their workers through this challenging time, they are also striving to maintain an outstanding quality of fruit for their consumers.
“Flavor is most important to consumers,” added Pat Scully of the Sales Team at Scully Packing in Lake County. “California pear farmers take care to pick pears at a point when they have plenty of sugar, and we never treat our pears with anti-ripening products like 1-MCP.”
1-MCP is a product that impedes fruit ripening. Producers in many growing regions use 1-MCP to extend a pear’s storage life.
“What we’ve found in repeated experiments in our lab is that pears treated with 1-MCP take as long as three weeks to ripen and, in fact, they may never get soft and juicy,” shared Dr. Beth Mitcham, a postharvest researcher at the University of California, Davis.
Unfortunately, a 1-MCP treated pear may not ever ripen properly. It may turn yellow and appear to be ripe but never soften. This disappoints consumers and prevents repeat sales.
“We don’t believe that 1-MCP is a smart choice for pears like Bartletts that must ripen off the tree,” said Wilson. “We know 1-MCP inhibits the fruit’s ability to ripen, meaning no flavor and no softening. With the increased use over the past few years, we think there is a direct correlation to retail pear category decline.”
Because Bartlett pears are picked green off the tree, they ship well and will ripen naturally. Once a consumer brings them home, they will become a ripe, juicy, flavorful piece of fruit.
“We’re committed to producing pears that offer the best eating experience for our consumers,” added Hemly. “In early July, shoppers should begin seeing new crop Bartlett pears in-store grown by local farmers. Our California Pear Advisory Board representatives will soon be reaching out to retailers—even if it’s only virtually—to set up promotions for the new season. “
The California Pear Advisory Board is based in Sacramento, CA, and represents all producers of pears in the state.
Keep a tab open for us at AndNowUKnow as more successful harvests continue coming to the market.