MILWAUKIE, Ore. — Retail produce workers can receive training about Northwest pears in a new online course offered this fall.

The online training program is geared to produce clerks who talk to consumers, said Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukie, Ore.-based Pear Bureau Northwest.

“We are trying to train them and (give them) information they can pass on to consumers,” he said.

The online training takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete and covers topics including ripening, varieties, usage, nutrition, handling and merchandising.

The training course can also be spread out over several sessions, if needed, Moffitt said.

“There can be three 10-minute sessions,” he said.

“We’re hoping to sign up large retailers who will get their people to take the program,” Moffitt said, adding that there is no charge to the retailer for the online training course.

The Pear Bureau is working to set up incentives for producers and workers to complete the training, such as a fruit knife, cap or shirt, Moffitt said.

Those who complete the program will receive a certificate, Moffitt said.

The retail training program is expected to be ready by September. A link to the program is available on the Pear Bureau’s website at

The online training program was developed by Fiction Tribe, a Portland, Ore.-area design and marketing company.

Moffitt said the export department started an online course for some of its markets, and the expertise developed there supported the effort for domestic retailers, he said.

Another retail-directed effort is the purchase of loyalty card data to try get more information about pear consumers. In particular, Moffitt said, the loyalty card data from IRI Fresh Look will show how consumers of pears differ in their purchases compared with other consumers at four different holiday occasions of the year.

The bureau will be able to use the data to help retailers compare their performance with other retailers, both in the same market and for the U.S.