Calif. pear deal shaping up for a later start
by Brian Gaylord | July 06, 2010
David J. Elliot & Son Co., located south of Sacramento near Courtland, CA,
grows pears in the Sacramento Delta area but not the mountain districts of
Mendocino and Lake counties.
David Thiessen, sales manager for David J. Elliot & Son Co., told The Produce
News June 24 that the company's first pear of the season is a Stark Crimson,
which it would start harvesting around July 8. Bartlett pears will follow soon
after with a harvest start date around July 15-16.
"With Bartletts, the initial pack is generally preconditioned, unless a customer
doesn't want it, which adds a couple of days to the process," Mr. Thiessen
said. "We hope to be shipping [Bartletts] by around July 17-18."
The company's Golden Bosc harvest should start the first week of August and
the harvest for the rest of the varietal pears, including Seckel, Comice and
French Butter, will start by mid-August, Mr. Thiessen said.
The pipeline is cleaning up nicely for the California pear season, Mr. Thiessen
"Industry reports indicate the Northwest Anjou crop is winding down, red
pears are virtually gone and the imports are cleaning up or not holding up,"
Mr. Thiessen said.
From Elliot's standpoint, an unusually wet spring hasn't adversely affected the
"The fruit finish and volume should be very close to last year although
preliminary industry reports are for a reduction in the statewide pear crop,"
Mr. Thiessen said. "Overall fruit quality looks very good at this stage."
Mr. Thiessen said that the sizing on Bartletts is a little too early to predict, but
it typically starts out peaking on 100s and moves to a peak on 90s as the
"We hope, with a later start, the fruit will size a little better than last year," Mr.
This season Elliot will continue to offer consolidation of all its products in the
Fresno, CA, tree fruit growing region as well as Courtland. All of Elliot's
products have GS1 labeling to aid in traceability and Elliot is Nutraclean- and
Elliot launched a new web site this year (www.stillwaterorchards.com) that has
information on the products and styles of packs the company offers as well as
a current information section that will offer the latest crop and variety
Finley, CA-based Scully Packing Co. LLC is facing a late start for its California
pear harvest. Kyle Persky, sales manager for Scully, told The Produce News
June 22 that its harvest of Bartlett pears in the Sacramento Delta was going to
be delayed by 10 to 14 days and likely would start the week of July 19.
About 80 percent of Scully's Bartlett pear production takes place in the
mountain districts of Mendocino and Lake counties. That harvest should start
the week of Aug. 9 and run through the first week of September, Mr. Persky
Scully expects to have Red Crimson pears from the Sacramento Delta by the
week of July 19. Its mountain harvest of Red Crimson pears should start the
first week of August.
Scully grows Bosc pears in all three major production areas in California. The
company also grows Seckel, Comice and Forelle varieties.
Bartlett pears account for the majority of Scully's pear production. The
mountain districts are the "strongest area for pears," Mr. Persky said.
Scully has hired Tom Frawley, a new salesman for the pear marketing season.
His background includes working as a field buyer and as a citrus broker.
California had a cold spring, which "pushed the crop back 10 to 14 days," Mr.
Persky said. "Rain affects the start date - not the quality."
The late start doesn't necessarily mean a shorter season for California pears.
Still, a later start will have shippers missing opportunities to move their pears,
Mr. Persky said.
Mr. Persky said that he anticipates a "clean pipeline" for California pears. He
said that fewer imported pears came into the United States this year.
Washington state moved a lot pears -- perhaps 15 percent more than last
year, Mr. Persky said.
"The [pear] category is on the rise," Mr. Persky said, adding that export
markets "are more of an option" than in the past.
California companies have had success exporting pears primarily to Canada
and Mexico, and to a lesser extent, the Pacific Rim. Now Brazil is emerging as
an export destination, Mr. Persky said.
Promotional programs and a better understanding by retailers of pear
conditioning have helped boost pear sales, Mr. Persky said.
Scully has an advantage over some of its competitors in that it grows pears in
all three of the major growing districts in California. As an overall industry,
California pears may be down 10-15 percent this year, Mr. Persky said.
Larelle Miller, saleswoman for Lodi, CA-based All State Packers Inc., told The
Produce News June 23 that Bartlett pears make up about 65 percent of All
State's pear volume. The company grows in all three major California growing
districts: the Sacramento Delta area and the mountain districts of Mendocino
and Lake counties.
Ms. Miller said that she expects All State's pear harvest to be 10 to 14 days
late as a result of cold spring temperatures, with its Bartlett pear harvest
starting around July 17-18. The company grows most of its Bartlett pears in
the Sacramento River area.
All State starts its pear harvest with the niche Sunsprite variety -- similar to a
Bartlett -- that usually starts about 10 days earlier than Bartlett and fills a gap
before the Bartletts come on. This year, the Sunsprite harvest likely will start
around July 3, Ms. Miller said.
All State's Stark Crimson pear harvest should start around July 13. The
company anticipates "decent volumes" on its Stark Crimson crop, she said. Its
Bosc harvest should start around Aug. 1 and its harvest in Seckel, Comice,
Forelle, French Butter and Taylors Gold variety pears all should start around
The pipeline looks promising and "better than last year," Ms. Miller said. All
State sells its pears throughout the United States, as well as to Canada,
Mexico and Brazil.