Columbia Marketing International, headquartered in Wenatchee, WA, will see a
surge in its organic pear volume this season.
"We have a fairly prominent grower that came to CMI last year," said Vice
President of Marketing Bob Mast. He told The Produce News the company's
volume will more than triple for the 2010-11 season for organic Anjou, Bosc
and Bartlett. “That’s pretty significant,” he added.
CMI grows organic and conventional pears in the Wenatchee Valley and has
packing operations in Monitor, WA. “We’ve got a pretty good crop coming,”
Mr. Mast stated. Weather conditions during the spring were cool and wet.
“That can have an impact on fruit size,” he noted. Conventional pear volume is
expected to be roughly similar to 2009-10.
Shipments of Red and Green Bartletts began the last week of August. Anjou
and Bosc production will begin in mid-September, with other pear varieties
CMI sells product to global markets, and exports typically account for
approximately 25 percent of CMI’s overall sales.
Last season, the company did a wine and cheese pairing promotion that was
highly successful. “We will continue the promotion,” Mr. Mast said.
CMI has designed special secondary displays and point-of-sale material to
help retailers drive sales. A new tote bag and bin have been designed for
pears this season. “The 'orchard-fresh look’ is what we call it,” he went on to
say. “The totes look almost like a little basket. It’s like you picked the fruit.”
Consumers continue to look for a good eating experience. “We’re putting a
lot of emphasis on our preripened program,” Mr. Mast said. Consumers still
regard pears as a luxury item, a mindset CMI hopes to tweak.