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Chelan Fresh spotlighting Concorde pear for 2011 season

Spotlight promotions are planned this pear season for the pre-ripened Concorde by Chelan Fresh Marketing in Chelan, WA, according to Vice President of Marketing Mac Riggan.

Mr. Riggan said July 27 that the dessert-sweet Concorde lends itself very well to pre-ripening, and he called the pear “one of the best-eating pieces of fruit you can find.”

He said, “It has a vanilla-almond essence when it’s ripe, and the flavor of the Concorde is just outstanding.”

Mr. Riggan went on to say that Chelan Fresh will coordinate samplings and demos in select markets for the fall-harvested pear.

“Retailers want consumers to come in as often as possible, and ripened fruit seems to bring customers in more often,” he said, add-ing that a ripened pear can be purchased and eaten that day or the next, prompting the buyer to return for more fruit sooner than if he or she had bought an unripened piece of fruit.

Other varieties are also pre-ripened by Chelan Fresh, including the d’Anjou, which Mr. Riggan described as “almost tropical” in its flavor complexity.

“We can ripen any variety, but we focus on the Concordes, Red and Green d’Anjous and the Comice,” he said.

“We will work with retailers on a pre-ripe program,” Mr. Riggan continued, noting that Chelan Fresh is working closely with Pear Bureau Northwest on promotional activities.

“We are very tied in with what they’re doing and when they’re doing it,” he said. “We want to be in tune with the Pear Bureau.”

Chelan Fresh’s pear crop has kept pace with the region’s “norm” this season, coming in later than last year and also coming in higher volume.

“Our d’Anjous are up by about 10 percent this year. Boscs are up by 15 percent, and Bartletts and red pears are holding steady,” Mr. Riggan said.

He said quality and finish are good, and recent warming trends have been perfect for fruit development.

“The weather right now is weather you love to be in,” Mr. Riggan said. “It’s golf weather, with the highs in the 80s and low 90s for the next five days. If we could have ordered weather, this is what we would have requested.”

Harvest on Bartletts will start around Sept. 1, and the first loads will go out Sept. 5. Mr. Riggan said red pears will also start around the first of September. D’Anjous will start Sept. 15, followed by Boscs Sept. 20.

“Concordes and Comices will start shipping in late September,” he said.