With the addition of a grower in the Reedley, Calif., area, Homegrown Organic Farms has increased the volume and lengthened the season for organic Asian pears it offers retailers.
This also is the first season that the Porterville-based grower-packer will pack organic Asian pears in its own single-layered cartons, said Stephen Paul, category sales manager.
Homegrown Organic Farms started with the Hosui variety in late July and will transition to the Shinko in mid-August, finishing the season with that variety in late September, he said.
The Shinko is slightly smaller and has more greenish-yellow tinged skin than the Hosui.
“The Asian pear arena is interesting to me because you have so many different varieties, but the eating experience is very much the same,” Paul said. “The fruit has very high water content and it is very crisp and juicy and refreshing.”
During the next few years, he said the grower-packer plans to add two to three later-season varieties as the acreage becomes certified organic, lengthening the season further.
Even though Asian pears, also called apple pears or pear apples, have become more mainstream with retailers, Paul said they still carry an exotic image that contributes to their appeal.
“You can do so much with them on a gourmet level or culinary level,” he said. “They’re a very flexible piece of fruit.”
They also complement Homegrown Organic Farm’s goal of increasing organic fall fruit offerings.
“You don’t really have a lot of options for fruit that you can eat out of hand after you get past stone fruit other than apples,” Paul said.
In the past, the challenge has been growing Asian pears organically. But Paul said newer technologies and cultural practices have helped organic growers deal with some of the issues, such as controlling fire blight disease.