CMI Orchards' Sarah Barkley Discusses Holiday Pear Merchandising Opportunities
WENATCHEE, WA - From partridges in pear trees to beautiful pear tarts, there is something about the festive fruit that screams holiday celebration. So, as you begin setting up your displays this season, look to CMI Orchards for a bounty of fresh, flavorful pears to decorate your aisles and keep shoppers inspired to load up their baskets.
“We’ve got quite a spread at hand!” says Sarah Barkley, Pear Sales Lead. “Our selections range from the popular summer varieties, Bartlett and Starkrimson; later-season varieties such as Anjou, Bosc, and Red Anjou; and even the specialty Concorde variety. Our premium pears are produced by specially selected growers all across Washington state, and we have partners in Argentina who grow in the opposite season so that we’re able to provide quality products to our partners consistently throughout the year."
CMI’s pear harvest wrapped up two weeks ago, and its Washington pear crops are already starting to hit shelves. Despite a late start to the season, the supplier is anticipating 1.6 million boxes of pears, a 50 percent increase over last year thanks to new local partnerships. Although weather events impacted pear pack-outs, the company’s top-notch quality control ensures that only the best fruit is shipped out.
“We’re so thrilled to be able to align ourselves with over 100 multi-generational pear growers that operate in small, family farms,” Sarah adds. “The time and care they’re able to put into their crops mean that not only did we see an increase in volume with our new partnerships, but also an increase in the quality of gorgeous, premium pears.”
To support retailers this season, CMI has 2 lb high-graphic pouch bags that are not only a fantastic way to grab shopper attention as they walk the produce department, but will also inspire repeat purchases as they feature ripening information and unique ways for the fruit to be used to elevate consumer cooking. Additionally, the supplier has a 2-box shipper that showcases the diversity of the pear as a culinary feature while also putting the fruit on display and making it accessible.
“Utilizing the accessibility of the 2-lb pouch bag—which works easily as a grab-and-go package, paramount during the intense holiday shopping season—will make it easier for customers to trade up from purchasing just one or two pieces of fruit to 2 lbs,” explains Sarah. “The package showcases and celebrates the vibrant, versatile colors of pears. After all, we know that while consumers come back for flavor, they eat with their eyes first.”
CMI also recommends highlighting the versatility of pears, as they can add a unique twist to various holiday dishes, from sweet desserts to savory side dishes and everything in between.
“Reminding consumers that they can elevate any holiday dinner or dessert by looking past your typical apple pie and making a feature out of the pear—roasted pears with goat cheese, pear feta, and walnut crostini, even something like a luscious pear sorbet or poached pear dessert—will give pears a real opportunity to shine and attract more attention,” imparts Sarah.
To take advantage of the opportunities that lie within the pear category this season, get festive by adding CMI’s fruit to your aisles, and let the holiday magic begin!