Starr Ranch Growers' Dan Davis Discusses Pear Market Conditions, Lower Volumes, and Outlook
WENATCHEE, WA - Pears is one of a handful of categories that have experienced much revitalization in recent years, from flavor profiles deepening to quality and consistency leveling up. One company driving demand across the segment and raising the standards for pear perfection is Starr Ranch Growers, bringing its treefruit expertise to retailers nationwide.
“We ship pears from Oregon's beautiful Hood River Valley primarily. Diamond Fruit Growers, specifically, is our primary pear partner,” Dan Davis, Director of Business Development, shares with me. “Quality looks very good at this point, and we’ll start harvesting in August—a little later than normal this year with the cold weather at bloom."
Starr Ranch partners will pick straight through and end on its later varieties in October at higher elevations. Compared to previous stats, this season is projected to have lower volumes and will be slightly down on some varieties.
Even so, Dan tells me that Starr Ranch will have a good amount of great pears to work with retail partners on for promotions.
“We’ve had some issues dealing with the spring cold temps, but other than that we’ve had a good growing season. There may be a few more lower-grade pears to work into various markets, but overall we anticipate a very good crop at this point,” Dan says. “We’ve still got a bit to go and may yet see some summer heat that we’ll have to deal with before we get the crop off. This year should be a much more controlled supply that will help maintain price on behalf of our growers.”
While every crop and season has its challenges, Starr Ranch is feeling the same inflationary pressures experienced industry-wide and notes the strong headwinds faced by many.
“Inflation in all areas is impacting pricing required to break even. Cost of labor, corrugated packaging, plastic, diesel, etc. are all increasing and adding to the cost structure,” Dan reflects. “It’s a difficult burden that the grower has to bear first, and we hope we can work with our retail partners this year to best recapture as much of this burden as possible. We know consumers are making choices with their produce dollar, but with pears, we hope we’re able to provide them something that earns those dollars through durability and consistency.”
With the extreme perishability of our industry continuing to impact these inflationary pressures, it takes a solutions-driven company to weather the storm, and Starr Ranch continues to bring its advocacy to the table.
For more on pear market conditions and Starr Ranch Growers, keep checking back with AndNowUKnow as we wrap up July.