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Stemilt Growers, based in Wenatchee, WA, and Lantao of Shanghai, China, have teamed up to be the first marketers of d'Anjou pears from Washington state in China under the new protocol between the United States and China, which was announced earlier this year.

Mike Taylor, vice president of sales and marketing for Stemilt, said that the d'Anjou is a good multi-purpose pear that is well suited for the Chinese market.

"Our experience danjou2Stemilt Growers and Lantao have teamed up to market d'Anjou pears in China.is the Chinese consumer appreciates a sweet and juicy piece of fruit," Mr. Taylor said in a press release. "We expect there will be an education period to explain the difference between a typical Asian pear and our Western-style pears. We feel very confident that Lantao, our partners in China, will do a great job in exposing d'Anjous in the market, and increase their sales and acceptance with the Chinese consumers".

Lantao has marketing and distribution facilities in five different markets in China, including the so-called "big three" of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, and also in the internal secondary cities of Shenyang and Zhengzhou.

"We decided to focus our introduction of d'Anjou pears initially in the Shanghai market," John Wang, president of Lantao, added in the press release. "Shanghainese are early adapters, and Shanghai was the first market to take black grape varieties from California. The quality of the fruit from Stemilt speaks for itself, and that eye appeal will lead to those first purchases. The great taste will keep them coming back."

Bill Young, export account manager for Stemilt Growers, will join Mr. Taylor on a tour of China in early March to see their fruit and the market reaction to it.

"China is one of our important export markets and we hope to achieve similar success with our pears as we have had with our apples and cherries," Mr. Young said in the press release.

With 48 percent of domestic production, Washington state is the largest U.S. producer of pears, according to the state department of agriculture. Stemilt is a major grower of d'Anjou pears in the Wenatchee region.