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Success with fresh sliced pears and peaches

Kim Gaarde, president of Fresno, California-based Fresh Fruit Cuts, Inc., launched fresh sliced peaches and nectarines—fruit that had eluded the fresh-cut market— under the Woot Froot label in 2013 after seven years of research and development and trial and error.

Fresh sliced pears were added last year as a way to make the business a year-round operation. Gaarde’s Woot Froot brand is a name coined to express the fist-pumping, exuberant culmination of a dream realized.

To put her business efforts in context, she explains that today’s fresh-cut peaches, nectarines, and pears are where the apple industry was 15 years ago when apple slices made their debut.

Sliced apples are now part of McDonald’s Happy Meals, are served on school lunch trays, and have provided growers with an important market for small fruit.

Fresh sliced apples have grown to be a $475 million industry, and it’s been estimated that sliced apples use around ten percent of the nation’s Gala, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith apple crops.

Gaarde hopes to do the same for the stone fruit and pear industry.

In their first three years, Woot Froot peaches, nectarines, pears, and grapes have been sold in all states but Alaska and Hawaii.

Woot Froot products have a 15-day or longer shelf life and come in modified atmosphere packages for retail and food service that range from three ounces to three pounds. Walmart is a major buyer, along with membership stores like Sam’s Club.

Doug Field of Excel Food Brokerage in Yakima, Washington, has helped Gaarde source pears and late-season stone fruit from the Northwest for Woot Froot products, including helping put together sales for Gaarde of truckloads of pre-sized U.S. No. 1 d’Anjou and Bartlett pears.

Field sees great potential for fresh-cut pears and stone fruit and believes fresh-cut fruit could help improve grower returns by using inventories of packing house manifolds that build up and depress prices.

Click here to read more at www.goodfruit.com.

Publication date: 9/4/2015


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