Posts Tagged “pears”

Starr Ranch Growers and CMI Orchards Enter into Partnership

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Wenatchee, WA: In a thrilling new development four years in the making—Starr Ranch Growers™/Oneonta Trading Company, which includes Custom Apple, Diamond Fruit and Apple King—announce an agreement has been reached to join forces with CMI Orchards, delivering more than 8 million cartons to CMI’s manifest. This strategic move marks a momentous milestone in the world of fresh produce, forging a powerhouse of innovation, quality, and building on CMI’s commitment to leading the industry with the largest selection of core, organic and specialty apples, pears and cherries under one roof.

The addition of Juici® and Karma® apples from Starr Ranch enhances CMI’s high-flavor arsenal, which includes varieties such as Ambrosia Gold®, KIKU®, Kanzi®, Jazz™, Envy™, Smitten®, SugarBee®, Sunrise Magic®, EverCrisp®, and Cosmic Crisp®. In combination with core conventional varietals from Custom Apple, and organics from Apple King, the move boosts CMI’s total volume by around 4.3 million cartons of apples.

The new partnership with Diamond Fruit Growers in Hood River, OR, brings an additional 2 million pear cartons into CMI’s fold, establishing CMI as the largest pear shipper globally with optical sorting technology and pre-sizing for versatility. Hood River represents one of the three best pear growing locales around the world, and this addition means CMI now supplies pears from all three regions—Hood River (Diamond), the upper Wenatchee Valley (McDougall and Sons, Independent Warehouse and Hi-Up) and imports from Rio Negro, Argentina (Kleppe).

Along with apples and pears, CMI anticipates an additional volume of 1.8 million cartons of cherries, with more early and late season offerings. “Extending the high-velocity cherry season means our retail partners can reap the benefits of one of the most lucrative times of year for longer, and come to one place for all the very best apples and pears year-round,” explains Bob Mast, President of CMI Orchards.

Jim Thomas, owner of Custom Apple Packing and Chairman of Starr Ranch shares his excitement about the partnership. “After 90 cherished years nurturing the Starr Ranch community of growers, team members, and customers with unwavering integrity, the visionary path forward is unmistakably clear—uniting with CMI Orchards. This forward-thinking collaboration has been a long time in the making, promising unprecedented benefits and a bright future for our growers and retail partners.”

Thomas extends heartfelt gratitude to Starr Ranch CEO Don Odegard for his guidance and dedication during this pivotal transition period, laying a solid foundation for prosperous times ahead. “As we transition, the seasoned leadership of Bob Mast, who has guided CMI Orchards with distinction for over a decade, instills great confidence in what lies ahead,” Thomas said. “United, the CMI and Starr Ranch teams herald a future brimming with potential, grounded in a shared vision of success, innovation, and diligence. I remain as committed as ever to not only our orchard but to nurturing a vibrant and sustainable future for the Wenatchee Valley’s fruit industry.”

Bryon McDougall, Chairperson of CMI Orchards, expresses his excitement about collaborating with the esteemed Thomas family of Starr Ranch Growers, envisioning a golden chapter ahead for CMI. “We hold Jim Thomas and the Thomas family in the highest regard,” says McDougall. “Uniting with a company of Starr Ranch’s stature—a true powerhouse that has significantly shaped the tree fruit industry—not only marks the onset of an exhilarating new chapter for CMI but symbolizes a partnership rooted in deep respect, integrity and a shared vision for the future.”

“Customers, partners, and fruit enthusiasts can expect an even greater focus on quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, all while meeting CMI’s outstanding standard of service,” adds Mast. “Starr Ranch and CMI have an exceptional legacy of integrity and producing the finest apples, pears and cherries, and this move leverages our collective strengths, expands our offerings, and combines the skills and experience of two outstanding teams of people, allowing us to drive innovation like never before.” 

About CMI Orchards

CMI Orchards is one of Washington State’s largest growers, shippers, and packers of premium-quality conventional and organic apples, pears, and cherries. Based in Wenatchee, WA, CMI Orchards delivers outstanding fruit across the U.S.A. and exports to over 60 countries worldwide.

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Pears Rank High in Dietary Fiber

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“Pears are a healthy and nutritious selection for the whole family that can be enjoyed a bit longer, when stored properly,” says Jim Morris, marketing manager at Pear Bureau Northwest. “Simply move your ripe pears to the refrigerator to extend their life 3-5 more days. With food prices on the rise, choosing produce that keeps and that offers a nutritious bang for the buck is all the more important.”

Pears rank higher than almost any other fruit when it comes to dietary fiber, with 6 grams or 21% of the recommended daily value in just one pear. Fiber aids in gut health and supports bowel regularity. Fiber-rich diets can also help in the prevention of various conditions and diseases, such as heart disease and some types of cancer.

Further, pears contain other essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium. These compounds are vital for normal metabolism, tissue repair, proper immune function and protection from infectious diseases.

How to Store and Ripen Pears
Pears are among the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Rather, they reach maturity when stored at room temperature. This makes pears a perfect choice for decorative fruit bowls or weekend produce shopping that will last throughout the week. To determine when a pear is at its juiciest, USA Pears suggests to “check the neck.” If a pear yields when gentle pressure is applied with a thumb to its neck near the stem, then it’s ripe and ready to eat. Once ripe, pears can be stored in the refrigerator to slow aging and extend the fruit for a few more days.

To learn more about the health benefits of pears and explore recipes, visit

About USA Pears
The Pear Bureau Northwest, promoted under the brand USA Pears, was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote and develop markets for top-quality fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon. The organization represents nearly 900 grower families and 50 packers and shippers. Combined, Washington and Oregon are the nation’s largest pear producing region. They produce approximately 88% of all fresh pears grown in the United States, and more than 96% of all winter pears (non-Bartlett varieties such as Bosc and Anjou). They also account for 92% of America’s fresh pear exports.

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First Loads of Washington state Cherries are Shipped

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IMG_6043I was in Chicago early Friday (June 14) when the first two loads of cherries arrived at the Chicago International Produce Market (CIPM) from Washington state. Cherry shipments have gotten off to a slow start, but should really be picking up in the days ahead.

The truckers were paid a gross freight of $4,500 for the run originating out of the Yakima Valley.  The f.o.b. worth of the load of cherries was approximately $125,000!

There have been some concerns relating to weather factors causing cracks in Washington cherries this season. However, these loads of early variety Chelan cherries had decent quality.  The more popular Bing variety of cherries should start shipments the week of June 24th.

If you haul produce and plan on loading Washington cherries, continue to check what’s being put into the truck.  Just because this stone fruit had good quality, there’s not guarantee this cracking will not show up in future loads.

Volume on Washington cherries in increasing and should hit a peak around June 26 -28, just in time for Fourth of July deliveries.

Shipments should continue into August.

Washington also continues to ship late season apples and pears from both the Yakima and Wenachee valleys.  Although not as attractive an item, the state’s Columbia Basin is still loading potatoes.

Columbia Basin potatoes – grossing about $4100 to Chicago.

Yakima valley apples and pears – about $6500 to New York City.

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Western Produce Shipments are Gearing Up; Rates Soar

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Grower/shippers in California’s San Joaquin Valley report good shipments of quality California stone fruit in the last half of May and it should pick up even more with the month of June.



Yellow and white peaches, as well as yellow and white nectarines have been moving for the past month.

Peak stone fruit shipments will be occurring the last half of June and July, with about average shipments seen for the season.

PEARS – California pear shipments will start the earlier than at least the past couple of years.  Loadings are expected to get underway around July 9th.

Washington state

Northwest cherry shippers, for the first time in six years, expect good volume shipments for cherries in June.   The first shipments of cherries in the state could start from June 1 through June 3.

Barring some bad weather (which would probably be rain),  full bore cherry shipments should be occurring in time  for the Fourth of the July for the first time since 2007.

The record shipments of 23 million 20-pound boxes of Northwest cherries last year was a 23% increase over the 2011 crop.

The Northwest will likely harvest a cherry crop in the 18 million to 20 million carton range in 2013.

San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – grossing about $8,800 to Boston.

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Washington State Has Loads of Fruit, Potatoes, Onions…

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This is Thanksgiving week and transportation needs and availability tend to get a little funky, or unpreditable.  Thanksgiving shipments have pretty much taken place, so the greatest need for trucks is expected to come as receivers relpinsh stocks following the long holidayweekend. 

The New York and Michigan apple industries got clobbered this season by bad weather, and shipments are expected to remain at record levels from both the Yakima Valley and Wenachee Valley.  The 2012-13 crop year – 121.5 million boxes could be shipped.

A breakdown by apple variety, also shows in millions of boxes, the following: Red Delicious/32.986; Golden Delicious/11.384; Granny Smith/11.163; Fuji/14.796; Gala/19.915; Braeburn/2.031; Jonagold/0.79; Cameo/0.618; Cripps Pink/2.81; Honeycrisp/2.95; and others/2.982.

As of November 1st, approximately 19.1 million boxes of apples had been shipped.   As of the same date in 2011, approximately 14.6 million boxes had been loaded.  During 2010, that number was 14.2 million boxes.


Through early November, Northwest growers had shipped 31 percent of the 2012-13 crop, up from 25% at the same time last year.

The 19.2 million boxes expected this year are down from last year’s 20.5 million-box record crop, but overall shipments should be right at the five-year average.

Potatoes and Onions

Washington state also is a major shipper of potatoes and onions, with the vast majority of loads originating from the Columbia Basin and extending into the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.

This area combined is accounting for nearly 750 truck load equivalents of onions on a weekly basis, and another 500 truck load equivalents of potatoes each week.

Washington state potatoes and onions – grossing about $6200 to Atlanta.

Washington state apples and pears – about $5400 to New York City.



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Northwest Providing Loads of Potatoes, Apples, Pears

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Washington state has new crops of potatoes, pears and apples now being shipped to point across North America.

In the Skagit Valley, located just north of Seattle, red, yellow, white and even a few purple potatoes are now providing loads.  Much of the activity centers around the town of Mount Vernon.  This isn’t the heavest volume produce area in the state, but it has a reputation for having consistent quality.  That reduces chances of claims and rejections for the trucker.

Washington’s main potato shipping area is in the Columbia Basin in the southern part of the state, that also extends into the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.  This region is averaging nearly 900 truckload equivalents of potato shipments a week.  The Columbia Basin also is shipping dry onions.

The Yakima and Wenatchee valleys are now shipping the new crop of pears.  Oregon shipments will be up slightly from a year ago with 10.6 million 44-pound equivalent boxes forecast.  Washington state may be down slightly from last year with about 19.1 million 44-pound boxes.  Although the Northwest is expected to have six percent fewer pear loads this season, it still exceeds the five-year average for shipments by about two percent.

Between Washington state and Oregon, the two states account for about 75 percent of the nation’s pear volume.

As has been reported in several recent stories on, a huge apple crop is still being forecast, with loadings expected to be brisk this season as Washington state works to fill voids in Michigan and New York state, who are shipping less apples due to weather related problems.

Columbia Basin potatoes and onions – grossing about $5600 to New York City.

Washington apple and pears – about $3700 to Chicago.


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Loading Opportunities Around the Country

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While I’ve written some reports suggesting caution when loading Washington state apples from the Wenachee Valley due to damage from a July 20 hail storm, information is now starting to come out relating to the pears from the same area.  Expect pear shippers to be loading some “hail grade” pears.  Appearance is affected, but eating quality should be fine.  Just make sure the parties with whom you are working to deliver the load are aware of this condition to the fruit and it is noted on the bill of lading.  Washington state pear shipments are expected to set a record this season volume wise.

In Michigan, produce shipments have been running early this season, not only for vegetables, but blueberries.  Expect both to complete shipping a week or two ahead of schedule this summer.  Michigan blueberry volume will drop significantly beginning the week of August 27th…..Expect a similar situation with “blues” coming out of Oregon and British Columbia.

In the San Luis Valley of Colorado, potato hauls should be ramping up by the end of August…Virtually all USA potato shipping areas are expecting to load more spuds during the 2012-13 shipping season.

On the East Coast, watermelon shipments have increased significantly over the past three years from Maryland and Delaware.  Virginia also is shipping melons…..Expect increased loading opportunities on watermelons for the upcoming Labor Day weekend from areas ranging from West Texas to Indiana and North Carolina.

Delaware watermelons – grossing about $1100 to New York City.


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National Summer Produce Shipping Update

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California apple and pear shipments have started, joining bell peppers and host of other veggies, stone fruits and grapes being shipped.  Across the country, summer produce shipments also are moving in good volume as well, although few can match the volume coming from California.

California apples for the new shipping season are under way from the San Joaquin Valley, while the new pear crop is providing loads from the San Joaquin Valley as well as the Sacramento District.  Both items join a host of San Joaquin Valley produce  items ranging from peaches, plums and nectarines to veggies such as sweet corn, and bell peppers, among others, as well as table grapes and melons.

Looking ahead to fall citrus shipments, California volume is forecast to be pretty normal.  Mandarin loadings get underway by mid October, while navel oranges should start shipping in Novemember and continue through May 2013.  The 2011-12 navel crop amounted to 88 million 40-pound cartons being shipped.  The Valencia orange loadings are winding down and about 28 million cartons will have been shipped by the end of the season.


Michigan is a leading shipper of blueberries, which are moving in good, steady volume.  There’s also a wide array of vegetables such as sweet corn, bell peppers and squash being loaded on trucks.

New York

Cabbage loads are now coming out of Western and Central New York.  Other vegetables will soon be available for hauling.

Eastern Shore

The tri-state area of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have had a good growing season and steady shipments of vegetables and melons are now occurring.

Eastern Shore produce is grossing – about $1700 to Chicago.

Michigan produce – about $2700 New York and Hunts Point.

California’s San Joaquin Valley produce – about $7500 to New York City.




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Look for New Season Pears, Potatoes, Grapes, Sweet Onions

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Here’s some items that are now available in your local supermarket, or will be available soon.

Starkrimson pears are among the first to be harvested early in the season and have a crimson red color that brightens as its ripens. They have a juicy texture and sweet flavor. Starkrimson pears are recognizable by their unique color and thick, stocky stem with a neck that appears to be growing up and around it.

Bosc pears are large with an elongated neck and have a distinct bronze/yellow color.

Bartlett is among the top pears in the U.S.   Bartlett pears are bell-shaped with a classic sweet pear flavor and smooth, buttery texture. Bartlett pears are excellent for fresh eating and are a common pear used for canning.

Bartlett pears are the most popular of the pear varieties.  They are picked at full mataurity in August and will ripen from green to yellow by the time they reach your supermarket shelves.  The Bartlett is a classic pear for canning and is great for fresh eating, pies and sauce.

Sweet onions from the Vidalia, GA area are pretty much history because of a smaller crop and the season ending earlier than normal.  While it may be the most famous of the sweet onions, a number of other states have established themselves in the past decade or so as providing consumers with some pretty tasty sweet onions themselves.  South Texas also grows a good sweet onions, but it has ended like Vidalia.

California is now providing sweet onions and will do so into August.

One alleged “sweet onion” I would avoid are those from Colorado.  Every year the Rocky Mountain state has bags of onions in my local supermarket labeled “sweet” and they never fail to disappoint, much less set my mouth on fire.

One of the best sweet onions coming on before long I’ve been pleased with from year to year is from the Skagit Valley in Washington state.

One of the better imported sweet onions that should be in your stores by early August are from Peru.  Sometimes, they are lacking a little sweetness at the start of the season, but get better as we move closer to fall.

You should also be seeing some good reasonable retail prices on table grapes from California, especially with the red grapes right now.  Soon to follow will be  the yellow seedless grapes.  With a good chance for a record crop from California, there should be some good prices on grapes this summer.

Another good buy in the coming weeks and months should be on potatoes with the new crop set to start.  The USA has over one million acres of spuds planted, which is 46,000 more acres than at this time last year.




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NW Summer Fruit Shipments are Gearing Up

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Everything from peaches to apricots, cherries and blueberries will soon be in IMG_5658good volume out of the Pacific Northwest, ramping of loading opportunities for those with refrigerated equipment.

Washington state cherry shipments are underway and in peak volume, which should continue through July, with lighter loadings continuing into August.   Record cherry shipments are being predicted.   Apricots also are being shipped, continuing into the third week of July.

Shipments are expected to be significantly higher for Northwest peaches this season, compared to 2011.  Peaches get underway the third week of July and should continue into October.

Oregon blueberry loads became available recently from the southern production areas of the state.  Further north in the Williamette district, “blues” have just started.

The Yakima Valley of Washington state is still shipping some apples and pears from the 2011-2012 season.

Washington state fruit – grossing about $6400 to New York City.

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