California Asian pear volumes will be down slightly this season, but marketers report excellent quality and strong demand.

Typically, Kingsburg Orchards, Kingsburg, Calif., increases its Asian pear acreage 10-20% every year, said Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing.

This year, because of early hail, volumes will be similar to last year, Spain said.

By the week of Sept. 3 Kingsburg had wrapped up its Crunchy Gold Asian pear harvest in California. Now in their fifth year, Crunchy Golds are marketed exclusively by Kingsburg, Spain said.

“Consumers absolutely love them,” he said. “They’re great-looking, kind of like a golden delicious.”

Kingsburg plans to wrap up hosui harvest in about mid-September, Spain said. Hosuis should ship through April or May.

Western Fresh Marketing, Madera, Calif., started harvesting hosuis and shinkos in the second week of August, right on time, said Chris Kragie, sales manager.

Volumes should be at peak levels until about Jan. 1, Kragie said.

Vancouver-based The Oppenheimer Group expects to begin receiving Tottori 20th Century pears from Japan in mid-October, said Karin Gardner, the company’s marketing communications manager.

Tottoris will be sold in 10-kilogram cartons and marketed exclusively by Oppenheimer. Supplies of the variety should be ample this fall, said Gardner, who reported excellent growing weather in Japan this season.

Volumes will likely be down about 10-15% this year for the company because of both hail and freezing weather early in the growing season, Kragie said.

The shorter crop should mean brisk movement throughout the deal, he said.

“Demand has been really good. Cross our fingers, with the shortage, pricing should stay at $10 and above.”

On Sept. 4, one-layer cartons of hosui 12s from California were selling for $17 on the Los Angeles terminal market, up from $15-16 last year at the same time.

Hot growing weather in August has translated into high brix levels for both Crunchy Golds and hosuis, Spain said.

“The quality is outstanding.”

Sizes in early September were peaking on 10s, 12s and 14s for Western Fresh, perfect sizes for promotions, Kragie said.

“The quality and condition have been excellent,” he said.