(Nov. 14) Near-ideal growing conditions have yielded a high-quality Northwest pear crop, and markets are responding with brisk movement and strong pricing, grower-shippers said.

“So far, it’s going great,” said Loren Queen, director of marketing for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash. “The quality this year has just been amazing, and we’ve had good demand. We’re very happy with the crop.”

Both brix levels and appearance are outstanding this season, which has resulted in higher movement compared to last year at the same time, said Tracy King, director of marketing for Wenatchee, Wash.-based Dovex Fruit Co.

This season’s crop is cleaner than crops the past two years, said Ken Helgeland, sales manager for C.M. Holtzinger Fruit Co. LLC, Yakima, Wash.

And, he said, the market has responded.

“We went through our non-CA (controlled-atmosphere) bartletts really fast,” he said. “Movement has been outstanding.”

Queen expects more of the same as the holidays roll around. Fruit is sizing slightly bigger than normal this year, Queen and Helgeland said. Dovex was shipping mostly size 80s and 90s in early November, King said.

Further stimulating demand for Domex fruit is the success of the company’s pre-conditioning program, sales of which continue to grow, Queen said.

A worldwide shortage of pears, combined with the weak dollar, is spurring exports this season, King said.

“There are some issues with availability in China, and the European crop isn’t huge,” he said.