CMI Orchards' Sarah Barkley Discusses National Pear Month
WENATCHEE, WA - Consumers need not wait for a partridge in a pear tree to get their hands on the seasonal fruit. CMI Orchards is taking on National Pear Month with a high-quality supply of several different varieties. To get the inside scoop, I spoke with Sarah Barkley, Domestic Sales and Pear Lead.
“Our newest addition from Diamond Fruit Growers is sweet Gem pears. What sets Gems apart is their unique appeal right off the shelf—they’re just as delicious when they’re a little crunchy, as well as when they’re perfectly pear-soft! Most pears have to wait, but Gems are perfect for shoppers that want to buy a pear and eat it the same day,” Sarah explained. “Mt. Hood, Oregon, is one of the top three pear growing regions in the world, and it shows in this superb fruit.”
In addition to this newer offering, CMI has all of its conventional core varieties: Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, D’Anjou, Forelle, Red D’Anjou, and Seckel.
Sarah added that pears are one of the most underrated stars of the baking season. There are tons of opportunities for retailers to dial in younger demographics, introducing them to pears as a nutritious, healthy, and delectable choice.
“Our Sweet Gourmet pouch bags are not only an easy carryout option for on-the-go shoppers, but also as a ripening guide—which makes consumers more confident about purchasing pears and knowing how long to wait until they’re ripe,” Sarah continued. “Each bag comes with inventive recipes, inspiring consumers to explore new and sophisticated ways to incorporate pears into cooking and baking.”
In addition to its core varieties, CMI has a variety of specialty pears like Forelle, Comice, Gem, and Seckel.
“The key challenge for retailers with pears lies in addressing customers' desire for immediate satisfaction with their produce purchases. Tackling this involves educating shoppers about the rewards of patience through ripening guides,” Sarah said. “Emphasizing pears during December is crucial. By featuring holiday recipes and creating engaging secondary displays, retailers can inspire customers to incorporate pears into their festive menus.”
CMI crafts customized promotions that generate in-store excitement, working closely with retailers to design campaigns that not only spotlight pears but also enhance the overall shopping experience.
“There’s a lot of great opportunity with the current load volume to spotlight Bosc and red pears. They provide a gorgeous color break and make holiday platters and charcuterie spreads pop!” Sarah relayed. “We also have cutting-edge tech available, such as a new vent pattern applied to our pear boxes, which helps us achieve an even higher quality standard.”
Plus, with a perfect pre-ripening program for all of its pears, CMI is uniquely positioned to deliver pears in a variety of ways. By providing perfectly ripened pears, retailers can build customer loyalty.
Happy National Pear Month, everyone!