California Asian pears draw strong demand

08/14/2013 11:35:00 AM
Andy Nelson

asian pearsCourtesy World Variety Produce Inc.Grower-shippers reported strong demand for California-grown Asian pears, which began shipping in late July.

Wawona Packing Co. began shipping Asian pears from California’s Central Valley at the end of July, said salesman John Hein.

Cutler, Calif.-based Wawona kicked off its deal with brown-skin hosuis and yellow-skin shinseikis. Harvest is expected to last into October.

“The crop looks good,” Hein said. “The harvest was a bit early on the brown-skinned varieties.”

Wawona’s California-grown Asian pear volumes should be similar to last year, Hein said.

“We have no new plantings,” he said.

Volumes also are expected to be about the same for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce Inc., which ships under the Melissa’s label, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations.

World Variety began shipping at the end of July. Quality is good, Schueller said, but sizing is a bit larger than retailers would like.

That should change by the end of August, when volumes of medium-sized fruit pick up and prices start to fall, Schueller said.

“It’s been a warm summer in the Central Valley, so we don’t anticipate any problems.”

Hein reported brisk movement in the first half of August, and he expects it to increase as the season progresses.

“Demand is currently good, and it will go up as we get further into the fall items and the tree fruit deals wind down,” he said.

On Aug. 13, cartons of hosuis 12s were selling for $18 on the Los Angeles terminal market, comparable to last year at the same time, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wawona expects to start shipping shinkos, another brown-skin variety, about Sept. 5, Hein said. Also around that time, the company plans to kick off its specialty yali deal. Yalis are nicknamed “duck pears” because their stem resembles a duck bill.

Wawona will have brown-skin Asian pears available into January. Yalis and shinseikis will likely ship into December.

Shinseikis are Wawona’s only yellow-skin Asian pear.



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