Blue Star Growers says crop is clean
With its crop marketed by Yakima, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co., Cashmere, Wash.-based Blue Star Growers Inc. plans to ship about 1.75 million boxes of anjous, 650,000 boxes of bartletts and 200,000 boxes of bosc, said Greg Rains, horticulturist with Blue Star.
The upcoming crop is very clean, and Rains said it was not uncommon for growers to get 90% packout for No. 1 anjous in the Cashmere region.
Harvest is delayed in Hood River area
Organic fruit in the Hood River area is showing good sizing, said Ben Johnson, president of Portland, Ore.-based Bridges Produce Inc., which markets organic pears for Columbia Gorge Organic Fruit Co.
The harvest is much later than usual, but that will give California bartlett growers time to move most of their crop before Northwest shippers begin, he said.
Organic bartlett harvest is expected to begin about Sept. 1, compared to a typical season start of about Aug. 21, and run through mid-October.
The firm expects to handle about 40,000 boxes.
Anjous and bosc pears will be marketed out of controlled atmosphere through late March.
CF Fresh releases marketing projections
Addie Pobst, import coordinator and director of integrity and sustainability for CF Fresh, Sedro Woolley, Wash., said the company expected to market 60,000 boxes of organic bartletts and 7,500 organic boxes of bosc from California.
For Northwest pears, Pobst said that CF Fresh expected to market about 4,000 boxes of anjous, 3,000 boxes of red bartletts, 2,500 boxes of starkrimson and 5,000 boxes of bartletts.
Anjous, bosc increase for Chelan Fresh
Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, Wash., expects to move about 1.2 million boxes of pears, said Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing.
The pear crop for Chelan Fresh is up 10% on anjous, with bosc up about 15% and bartletts about the same, he said.
Riggan said very little of the crop would be organic fruit.
Columbia Marketing expects more volume
Steve Castleman, vice president of domestic sales for Columbia Marketing International, Wenatchee, Wash., said the firm expects 10% greater pear volume this year, with total packout near 1.2 million boxes.
Anjous are the primary variety for CMI, comprising about half of volume. Bartletts account for 25% of the volume, with the remainder boscs and red pears.
Domex Superfresh adds QR codes
Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash., is using quick-response codes on various fruit packaging this year, said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager.“It brings a more effective communications method to the consumer,” he said.
The rapid rise in the use of smart phones — 37% of all phones sold today are smartphones — means consumers increasingly will use their phones to find information about products as they shop.
“Our philosophy has been to connect the grower to the consumer. The QR code will help facilitate that and introduce our growers to our consumers,” he said.
FirstFruits Marketing pushes organic pears
FirstFruits Marketing of Washington, Yakima, will feature about 25% of the state’s organic pear volume, said Keith Mathews, chief executive officer.
Conventional pear volume will be close to 600,000 boxes, he said.
L&M Cos. to market bartletts, anjous
Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Co., will market about 200,000 cartons of bartlett pears, 300,000 boxes of anjous and 60,000 to 70,000 cases of bosc pears from the Yakima, Wash., region, said John Long.
“The pears are clean and very nice,” he said.
Harvest of bartletts were expected the week of Aug. 22, while harvest anjous and bosc were expected to begin by the middle of September.
Bartletts will run from controlled atmosphere as late as Christmas, he said.
Anjous will be marketed from the first of October through April, with bosc expected in a similar time frame.
Nuchief Sales expects a million boxes
The 2011 pear crop will feature bigger volume for Wenatchee, Wash.-based Nuchief Sales Inc., said Randy Steensma, president and export marketing director.
“We will be up over 10% from last year,” he said.
Steensma estimates the marketer will move about 1 million boxes of pears this year, with 30% bartletts and 50% green and red anjous.
The remaining volume will be mainly bosc, with a few forelles, he said.
Oneonta Starr Ranch crop good despite hail
Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, has a strong crop of pears in the Hood River region, despite some hail in the higher districts, said Scott Marboe, director of marketing.
Bosc and seckel variety pears volumes are expected to be up, he said.
Crop timing was 10 days to two weeks late. The firm expects to handle about 2.4 million to 2.5 million boxes of pears.
Rainier Fruit grows sale of conditioned pears
Rainier Fruit Co. is looking for a bigger pear crop this year.
Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for the Yakima, Wash.-based company, said it expects to ship about 3 million boxes of pears.
Rainier also is continuing to see big increases in the sale of conditioned pears.
“More retailers are embracing conditioned pears,” Wolter said.
Bartletts are conditioned until December, while anjous are treated as requested throughout the season.
Besides placing a red sticker on conditioned pears, Rainier also can provide posters to retailers that inform consumers that the pears are ripe.
Rivermaid Trading Co. expects full crop
Winter pears appear to be thriving under cool weather this year, said Scott Martinez, vice president with Rivermaid Trading, Lodi, Calif.
The company produced only 40% of a crop in Oregon’s Medford region last year but this year is anticipating a full, clean crop.
Promotional opportunities will be somewhat delayed, with best promotions likely by the end of September.
Between California and the Northwest combined, Rivermaid expects to market about 2.2 million boxes this year, he said.
Stemilt Growers offers online ‘Pairology’
Brianna Shales, communications specialist with Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers LLC, said the firm plans to market 2.3 million boxes of pears in 2011-12, including about 220,000 boxes of organic pears.
The company offers a new tool for consumers on its website, www.stemilt.com.
Called “Pairology,” the site helps consumers match pears or apples with wines and cheeses.
Retailers also can take advantage of a display bin linked to Pairology to help set up cross-merchandising promotions.
“Pears are a small share of produce department sales — about 2% — and we want to continue to build that,” she said.