Harvest of Washington pears has begun, and growers in Washington and Oregon are expecting a big crop.

Picking began a bit earlier than normal, according to a story in the Tri-City Herald newspaper.

Growers began harvesting bartletts the weekend of Aug. 10-11 or the week of Aug. 12, according to the story.

Washington and Oregon are expected to harvest about 19.8 million 44-pound boxes of pears, said Dan Kelly, assistant manager of the Washington Growers Clearing House.

Last year, growers shipped about 19.5 million boxes.

“The quality of the fruit looks really good,” Kelly told the Tri-City Herald. “I think we are going to have a great product.”