your-news image
December is National Pear Month, and Cristie Mather, director of communications for the Pear Bureau Northwest, said that she is gratified by the national features focusing on pears.

"This has really been a good year for us," she told The Produce News in early November. “We're really excited about the quality of these stories.”

The Pacific Northwest is already moving product to global markets. According to the bureau’s web site, the 2010-11 crop is estimated at approximately 17.5 million 44-pound box equivalents. Summer and fall varieties are estimated at approximately 4 million boxes, and winter varieties are estimated at 13.5 million boxes. This season, organics will account for 5 percent of total pear volume. According to the bureau, 56 percent of summer-fall pear volume was available as of Oct. 22. Available volume for winter varieties as of Oct. 22 was 91 percent.

In anticipation of National Pear Month, the bureau plans to do a mass mailing and send out samples of its fruit.

Ms. Mather said that media outreach has been very successful this season. Publications such as Bon Appetit, Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times have all featured pears.

“They have strong readerships,” Ms. Mather stated, adding that the publications help consumers learn about proper pear ripening and pear seasonality. Recipes which feature pears also figure prominently in these publications.

“Pear facts are really being accurately carried by publications,” she said. “This year, they’re showing they know who the Pear Bureau is.”

A new consumer recipe contest is being sponsored at www.epicurious.com, a site that Ms. Mather said has 5 million unique visitors each month. On Nov. 23, winning recipes will be promoted on the web site.

Ms. Mather said that attendees at this year’s Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit took time to talk with bureau staff. “We had great traffic to our booth at any time,” she stated.