Cal bartlett crop smallerCalifornia pear growers expect to harvest about 2.6 million boxes of bartletts this year, down from the four-year average of 2.9 million boxes.

The Sacramento-based California Pear Advisory Board made the estimate June 12, according to a board news release.

The board is now marketing California bartletts as “America’s First Pears” because they are the first pears harvested in the U.S. each year.

Bartlett harvest should begin in the Sacramento River region about July 7. About 1.5 million boxes will come from the Delta River growing district.

Harvest is expected to begin in Mendocino County about Aug. 4 and in Lake County about Aug. 11.

In addition to bartletts, California growers should ship about 550,000 boxes of other varieties this season. About 220,000 boxes of golden russet boscs and 80,000 boxes of starkrimsons are expected.

Other varieties shipping from California this season include boscs, sunsprites, comices, forelles, seckels, french butters and other red varieties.

The board plans to launch an education effort this summer to convince retailers to stock California bartletts for the duration of their season. The group also intends to run new online consumer promotions beginning this season.