Organic Pears

Organic Pears

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. As demand for organic continues to climb, Northwest pear growers take notice and are making some changes.

Pear Bureau Northwest's Kathy Stephenson says transition of acreage from conventional to organic has been steady ...

STEPHENSON ... "We're expecting about 1.6-million standard boxes. That's about 8.5% of the total Northwest crop, up significantly. It's up 54% over last season and the main reason for that is we've got lots of orchards being transitioned into organic. There's still a growing demand. The demand is not being met by Northwest pears yet. So, a great opportunity for some of our marketers and growers to benefit from those organic sales."

But, Stephenson says, more organic is expected ...

STEPHENSON ... "Yeah, I think that we've seen that in the last five years. Several of our orchardists are moving to try and increase production for organic. And, this year we're going to see quite a bit of the new orchards come on and next year, the same thing. So, you know, I think that number will grow. I think the industry standard is somewhere around 15% of produce is organic. So, if you look at that gap perhaps that's the gap that we'll see start to fill in."

She says organic pears starting hitting the market in Spring with the off-shore fruit in March ...

STEPHENSON ... "So, the idea would be that our Northwest suppliers would be able to fill those market opportunities all the way through to June just like they do with the red and green Anjou's."

Stephenson says it takes about three years for an orchard to transition from conventional to organic.

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