Smaller but tastier pears emerge from Washington for 2017
Slightly smaller but good-quality pears are coming out of the Washington region. “The supply looks good,” says Scott Marboe of Wenatchee, Wash.-based Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers. “Pears are coming off normal and we started with some of our varietal pears like Seckels and Red Anjous and Green Anjous are being packed. And the Bartlett crop has been excellent—really well received. We are a little down in sizing across the board. There aren’t as many 70s and 80s on any of the varieties but the conditions look good. The skin looks good—really smooth.”
While the season is off to a later start, Marboe thinks it’s back to the normal harvest start. “We’ve been early the last few years because of weather and so forth,” he says. “But this year we started harvest about where expected, late August with Barletts and now we’re up with Anjous.”
Marboe anticipates that the pricing, which is slightly stronger than last year, is also looking consistent.
Pouches are in
Meanwhile Oneonta is introducing new products this season to help raise the profile of the pear category. “We put out a 1 lb. Seckel (sugar pear) pouch bag. We’re also doing it with Forelles this year. We’re seeing a lot more pouch bags in the other varieties as well. It’s really helping the pear category. The retail trade has been asking time and time again for help in making the category stronger so this is another way I see it growing and getting pears into the hands of consumers.”
At the same time, Oneonta also has a new variety of pear in the ground, the Gem. “It’s textured like an Asian pear but it’s sweet and has a bit of spiciness to it. It’s also edible right off the trees whereas some of the winter pears, you need to wait,” says Marboe. “We have very limited volume this year and we’re trying to get some feedback from the consumers. After all, it takes roughly seven years to get a pear variety up and running.”
For more information:
Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers
Tel: +1 509-888-5120
Publication date: 9/26/2017
Author: Astrid van den Broek
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