Harvesting of Conference pears, the type most commonly grown in Belgium, has begun while the apple harvest is expected a little later. The news from the sector is that the fruits are smaller but sweeter because of the recent months of sunny weather.
After various tests, the Vlaams Centrum voor de Bewaring van Tuinbouwproducten (Flemish Centre for the Conservation of Farm Products) announced that the best time for harvesting pears was 16 to 31 August. Apples will be harvested a bit later, depending on the varieties.
“Tests show that the fruits have a high sugar content,” says Pieter Timmermans, an advisor to the Flemish agricultural union Boederbond. “That’s because of the sunny weather.”
The weather conditions in recent months will result in a slightly smaller harvest than the average for the past five years: 6% less for pears and 5% less for apples, according to estimates.
The Belgian pear harvest is expected to be around 317 million kg, while the forecast for apples is 216 million kg. Timmermans says it is difficult to assess the prices of the fruits. “Naturally, we are hoping for a good price, but we’ll see. In any event, the prices for some early varieties are promising,” he explains.