Borton & Sons expects good crop

Pear volume for Borton & Sons is expected about 500,000 cartons, which will be down slightly from 2013 shipments, said Sky Johnson, salesman. The Yakima, Wash., company is working on new auxillary displays for apples and pears.

“Pear movement has been great this year, and we’re seeing the complementary items of apples and pears moving together,” he said. “It should be a really good pear season.”


Domex Superfresh volume increases

Production from Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash., will account for about 15% of the pear and apple crops in the Northwest this year, said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager. Quality of the fruit has been tremendous, Queen said, with perfect growing weather. Queen said volume of organic apples and pears will be up significantly for Superfresh, accounting for about 10% of the company’s volume.

Queen said Superfresh will have Sesame Street promotion materials for apples and pears by Oct. 1, with graphics on a variety of consumer packaging and materials available to retailers.

The company plans a variety of social media promotions this year, with a photo sweepstakes contest up first for apples in September and another planned for pears around the holidays.


Chelan Fresh sticks with Fuel to Play 60

Chelan Fresh Marketing expects to move about 1.7 million cartons of pears this season, said Mac Riggan, director of marketing for the Chelan, Wash.-based company.

Riggan said the company has promotions relating to Fuel to Play 60, which is September through February. The program, is in 73,000 schools with 11.5 million students participating. The fruit will be labeled with Fuel to Play 60 logos on cartons and packaging, and retailers will display signs.

Chelan won’t be using Disney characters in 2014-15, he said, in what he called a mutual decision with Disney.

Riggan said that while the jury may still be out on character marketing, Chelan Fresh is committed to capturing demand from younger consumers.

“We rather develop the tastes of the young rather than change the taste of the old,” he said.

Riggan said Chelan Fresh is pushing its pear preconditioning program.

Two years after Chelan Fresh began its in-house organic program, Riggan said he expects volume of apples and pears to grow by about 30% this year.

“Consumers seem to be rewarding organic growers, and (demand) doesn’t seem to be leveling off,” he siad.


Columbia Marketing to match last season

The pear crop for Wenatchee-based Columbia Marketing International will be close to the same size as last year, said Mike Nicholson, domestic salesman.

Green bartlett volume could be up about 5%, with bosc and anjou volume about the same as last year, he said.

Overall pear volume is expected to total about 1.1 million boxes, with a good mix of bartlett, anjous, bosc, red anjous and stark crimsons. A favorable growing season should result in less off-grade fruit compared to last season, he said.

CMI’s organic pear volume could be up about 50%, with volume expected to grow from about 65,000 cartons last year to 100,000 cartons this year. Organic bartlett volume for will double, with gains of 50% of bosc and anjous, and up about one-third on organic red anjou.


FirstFruits holds steady from 2013-14

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington, Yakima, expects to market about 500,000 boxes of pears in 2014-15, not far off from 2013-14, said Robbin Erickson, sales manager.

He said bartletts will begin about the second week of August, with harvesting proceeding to stark crimson, anjous, red anjous, bosc, forelle, seckel and comice.

Erickson said FirstFruits will finish with its summer pear varieties by Christmas, with winter pears continuing into April. Sizing will be heavy to profitable retail 80- and 90-size fruit, he said.

“These orchards are well established and really grow a consistent pear crop every year,” he said.


Honey Bear may have a little less fruit

Wenatchee, Wash.-based Honey Bear Tree Fruit Co. expects to market about 1.1 million cartons of years in the 2014-015 season, said Randy Steensma, president.

“The crop will be slightly reduced for us, and size (of the fruit) will determine the final pick,” Steensma said. “The decline could be 6% or 7% lower compared with last year.”

Sizing will be normal and bartletts will peak on 80s. Anjous traditionally peak on 90s, but some orchards were peaking on 70s last year. Sizing isn’t expected to be that large this year, he said.


L&M Cos. projects slightly fewer pears

Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. expects to market about 500,000 cartons of pears, said John Long, director of sales of operations in Union Gap, Wash.

The supply of pears this year will be down slightly for the company, he said. Organic volume may account for about 10% of the crop, he said.


Sizing looks good at Northern Fruit

Pear volume from Wenatchee, Wash.-based Northern Fruit Co. will approach close to 600,000 to 700,00 cartons,” said Bill Knight, domestic sales manager. “Sizing at this point looks pretty good,” Knight said in late July.


Oneonta Starr predicts big pears

Wenatchee, Wash.-based-Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers will have a crop of big, clean bartletts in 2014, with plenty of fruit sized 90 and larger, marketing director Scott Marboe said.

The company offers a nice mix of bartletts and winter pears, with total pear volume expected near 2.4 million cartons to 2.6 million carton, off a touch from last year, said Bruce Turner, national sales manager.

“More and retialers are carrying bartletts and anjous together, and category sales are growing,” Turner said.

Turner said Oneonta will put more pears in pouch bags this year. In a what will be a new pack, Oneonta will introduce a 3-pound pouch with red anjous called Red Diamonds. The pouch bag will help showcase red anjous, which not all consumers are familiar with, he said.

“This pouch bag has consumer appeal, and more people will pick it up,” he siad. The company also plans to introduce a tote bag design for apples and pears with the theme “Eat and Play the Healthy Way,” Turner said.

Beside bartletts and anjou pears, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers also grows, ships and markets bosc, forelle, comice, seckel, Asian and red sensation pears, with the Diamond Starr Growers label on cartons, totes and bags. Bartletts, stark crimsons and red sensations are available through December, Marboe said. Seckels, comice and Asians ship during the winter months, and red and green anjous typically ship from late summer or early fall into the next summer.

For custom promotions for its retail partners, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers provides high-graphic point-of-sale display materials for its “snaQ” programs for its pears and apples aimed at kids, Marboe said.


Rainier Fruit pear volume tapers

Rainier Fruit Co., Selah, Wash., expects to be up about 2% on bartletts and down about 10% for anjous compared with 2013, said Andy Tudor, director of business development.

Across the whole category, Rainier may be off about 8.5% compared with the 2013-14 season, similar to the overall industry.

The organic component of their pear volume is about 5%. Tudor said organic anjou volume may be up 20% compared with last year and down 12% for bartletts.

Rainier expects to introduce a pouch-style bag for pears by mid-October for bartletts, anjous and bosc.

The company is finding success with its conditioning program, Tudor said.

Rainier uses industry-approved standards for conditioned pears, and Tudor said that both consumers and retailers are drawn to conditioned pears, he said.


Sage Fruit targets 1 million box mark

Sage Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash., expects to market nearly 1 million cartons of pears ths year, according to John Onstad, director of sales. That is close to last year, he said.

The company has signed a licensing agreeement with Marvel and Disney, Onstad said. Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man began appearing nationwide in July on Sage Fruit cherry pouch bags, and Disney and Marvel promotions also are planned for the apple and pear season.

The campaign will allow use of graphics, packaging and merchandising opportunties to allow retailers the chance to cross-promote with the Disney brand.

Sage will offer organic fruit through Viva Tierra Organic Inc., Sedro Woolley, Wash., in the upcoming season. Sage Fruit will continue to be a sponsor of Kasey Kahne NASCAR racing team and exclusive supplier of the NBC TV series “The Biggest Loser.”


Viva Tierra finds demand stronger

Viva Tierra Organic Inc., Sedro-Woolley, Wash., may market about 70,000 cartons of organic pears for 2014-15, said Addie Pobst, organic integrity and logistics coordinator. That is up slightly from last year.

The company expects to market organic winter pears into January.

“We are absolutely seeing very strong demand for organic fruit, and we’ve had lots of difficulty in meeting the demand,” she said.


Bloom looks good at Washington Fruit

Yakima-based Washington Fruit & Produce should account for about 10% of the pear crop this year, said Chris Falk, vice president.

Pear volume was

expected to be off a bit because of the alternate bearing nature of the crop, Falk said.

However, there has been good bloom on the crop and good after-bloom weather, he said.