Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers Inc. moves a lot of smaller-sized pears to foodservice destinations, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.
“We’ve seen pears in the white-tablecloth restaurants in the foodservice world, and they’ve done quite well there,” he said.
“When you’re talking about white-tablecloth, you’re not moving a lot of volume. It takes a lot of salads to take up a case of pears,” he said.
Pears meld with a trend toward more healthful offerings, said Maureen Royal, saleswoman with organic produce distributor Bridges Produce, Portland, Ore.
“More and more restaurants are incorporating fresh fruit, and, in particular local, organic apples and pears into their specialty recipes for entrees as well as desserts,” Royal said.
Consumers are asking for those items, Royal said.
“They patronize and support the restaurants that are doing this,” she said.
As for slicing, there’s an ongoing hope that such a market will someday materialize for pears, said David Garcia, chief executive officer with Hood River, Ore.-based Diamond Fruit Growers.