Grower-shippers and importers expect a smooth transition from California to Chilean Asian pears, with continued steady movement and demand.

Western Fresh Marketing Services Inc., Madera, Calif., expects to receive its first shipments of yellow-skinned Asian pears from Chile by the end of February, said salesman Joel Salazar.

Brown-skinned varieties should follow two weeks later.

That’s slightly later than last year’s first arrivals of Chilean fruit, but there still could be some overlap with California Asian pears because of some sluggishness at the end of the domestic deal, Salazar said.

Despite that late-season slowdown, overall, the California season has been successful, he said.

“It’s been steady. We’ve had regular repeat business. It’s become a very nice deal.”

Kingsburg Orchards, Kingsburg, Calif., expects to ship California Asian pears out of storage through early to mid-April, said Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing.

After some hail damage early in the season, it’s been smooth sailing for Kingsburg.

“It’s been a pretty good year for us,” Spain said. “The quality is outstanding. “They were thinned after the hail, and the ones that were left sized up nicely.”

Kingsburg’s deal should wind up being larger than last year’s, Spain said.

“Asian pears have been around for awhile, but every week, a new customer is discovering them,” he said.

Western Fresh’s California volumes also will likely wind up being a little higher than last year’s, Salazar said. The company has enjoyed good sizing and quality this season.

The company’s Chilean Asian pear volumes also should be up from last year, Salazar said.

On Feb. 12, one-layer cartons of hosui 12s from California sold for $14-17 on the Los Angeles terminal market, up from $13-14 last year at the same time.

Pricing should remain fairly steady until Chilean volumes pick up, then they could come down slightly, Salazar said.

Spain also expects steady demand and markets in the coming weeks.