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Boutique apples, pears create marketplace excitement for Dragonberry

Amy Nguyen, sales executive for Dragonberry Produce Inc. in Clackamas, OR, said that the company’s Green Dragon apple and 20th Century pear continue to stir marketplace excitement.

“We’re not stagnant,” Ms. Nguyen told The Produce News. “We always have new commodities coming in.”

This is the fifth season Dragonberry has marketed the Green Dragon. Previously sold to export markets, Dragonberry began selling the variety to domestic markets last year. Visually, the Green Dragon has an appearance similar to a Granny Smith.

“But this apple is very sweet,” Ms. Nguyen stated. “The apple has a great taste to it.”

She went on to say that the first shipments of the Green Dragon were scheduled to begin on Oct. 8. “The apples look good,” she added.

Production acreage for 20th Century pears has increased. But Ms. Nguyen said that excessive rain during the production season caused more blossoms to grow on the trees. As a result, she said fruit sizing will be smaller.

This is the fifth season Dragonberry has marketed 20th Century pears to its customers. According to Ms. Nguyen, 20th Century pears are a big focus at the company. Dragonberry works with two growers in Hood River, OR.

“This is a juicy, crisp pear,” Mr. Nguyen said. “It’s not grainy.”

Because of the pear’s high Brix level, Ms. Nguyen said that it cannot be stored. Most of the pears are sold domestically during a six-month period.

A new box that gives the pears a stronger presentation will be introduced this season, according to Ms. Nguyen, who said that the high-resolution graphics on the box make it an excellent vehicle for retail displays.