Oppenheimer is the exclusive importer, but the sweet red apples won’t be available until early July. Nelley said supplies should last through September.
Oppenheimer increased its import volume of taylor’s gold pears from New Zealand to more than 120,000 15-pound boxes this season, and Nelley expects 95% of the fruit to be in the hands of consumers by Independence Day.
Nelley said the dry New Zealand summer worked similar magic for pears as it did for apples, with fruit size slightly smaller than usual but strong flavor and brix counts.
Aside from the taylor’s gold pears, Nelley said good volumes of other varieties should come on and last until domestic supplies are again available.“There was some wind in a few areas that affected a few pears with wind rub, but nothing to worry about,” Nelley said.
At Giumarra Wenatchee, Bushong said comice, taylor’s gold and other varieties from New Zealand should be available through June and possibly into early July. However, the big pear news for the company’s New Zealand import program this season is the Angelys variety.
Giumarra tested the Angelys variety in 2012 with very limited distribution. Response from retailers and consumers was tremendous, Bushong said, so the company expanded the program for 2013. Bushong said the Angelys pears should begin arriving in July. Giumarra has exclusive North America supplier rights for the Angleys grown in New Zealand by Freshmax.
“This is one of the best eating years I’ve seen,” bushing said. “The flavor is exceptional with high brix and a creamy textured flesh.”