California Asian pear prices on the rise - The Packer

California Asian pear prices on the rise

09/03/2008 12:00:00 AM
Don Schrack

Nearly all of the Fruit Patch fruit is packed in socks and single-layer cartons, Crookshank said.

Dayka & Hackett LLC, Reedley, Calif. plans to have supplies of hosuis and shinkos into November, said salesman Julian Lipschitz.

“We don’t have a big Asian pear program, but the quality is good and sizing is decent,” he said.

Scattaglia Growers and Shippers LLC, Traver, Calif., expects to have supplies of Asian pears available up to November, said Dave Parker, director of marketing.

Kingsburg Orchards, Kingsburg, produces more than half of the state’s volume. The company was in the final days of picking its proprietary variety, crunchy gold, Aug. 29, said salesman Brian Hofer. He predicted supplies of the variety would be sold out by the third week in September.

Harvesting of honey golds began in mid-August at Kingsburg Orchards, Hofer said, with shin lis and yalis coming out of the orchard about Sept. 1. The harvest start for shinkos was scheduled for Sept. 6, he said, with Wilson yellows to start about Sept. 10.

“The quality is outstanding this season,” Hofer said. “The flavor is very sweet and the fruit is loaded with juice.”

Kingsburg Orchards plans to have ample supplies of Asian pears through February, he said.

“Now’s the time for retailers to get them,” Hofer said. “They’re the perfect fruit for the kids’ lunch boxes; they go great in salads and with cheese and wine.”

Phillips echoed that view. It is a very versatile fruit that complements lots of meals, especially hot, spicy foods, he said. More grower-shippers are calling them apple pears, Phillips said, and for good reason.

“Retailers are missing a good fruit,” he said. “But they must educate consumers that apple pears are to be eaten when they’re firm and crunchy like an apple — not soft like European pears.”

Another of the fruit’s virtues is long shelf life in the stores, and they can keep in a refrigerator for several weeks, he said.

“If retailers more strongly promoted Asian pears and displayed them with apples and pears — as opposed to marketing them as a specialty item — they’d get more repeat sales,” Lipschitz said.

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