By MITCH LIES
HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- As pear growers here wrap up harvest, they are characterizing their 2012 crop as "about average."
After two less-than-stellar years, average is a good thing.
"Overall it has been an OK season," said Hood River Valley orchardist Brian Nakamura, "which is better than the last couple of years."
Growers struggled with low volumes in 2011 and fought russetting problems in 2010, Nakamura said.
Also, rain during picking last year complicated harvest.
"The weather has been wonderful," grower Sam Asai said. "Luckily we didn't have to worry about the rain."
Asai said growers in the lower valley were bringing in high volumes of Anjou pears and slightly below average volumes of Boscs.
"We picked a big crop of Anjous here in the lower valley," Asai said.
Also, Asai said, "We were above average in Bartletts."
"It was a big crop of Bartletts," grower Chuck Thomsen said. "They seemed to like the hot weather during bloom."
Thomsen said he harvested low volumes of Anjous, but their size was outstanding.
"In the Anjous, it was almost like we hand-thinned them," he said.
Asai said he had the exact opposite experience in his Anjous: "I had a big set and small size," he said.
Growers said crop development was a little behind average for most of the season, but warm weather late in the season hurried crop development. Most had their pears picked by the first week of October.
Growers said quality was outstanding.
"I expect a lot of Number 1s in the valley," Thomsen said.