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The holidays are a fruitful time for Stemilt Growers

Prospects are strong for a bountiful holiday apple season that will delight American consumers.

“When apples start, Honeycrisp is strong,” said Roger Pepperl, director of marketing for Stemilt Growers Inc. in Wenatchee, WA. “But as you go into the holidays, more varieties are available. Pink Ladies do very well over the holidays, and Fujis will also be in.”

These are Stemiltbut a few of the conventional and organic varieties comprising the company’s extensive apple manifest.

In 2004, Stemilt purchased the exclusive rights to grow, pack and market the Piñata, a variety showing leaps-and-bounds growth and marketplace acceptance. “We had our biggest crop ever,” Mr. Pepperl said of 2012 volume. “The trees are getting older; the flavor profile is excellent.”

A hallmark of the variety is its versatility. In addition to eating out of hand, Mr. Pepperl added that the Piñata is a good choice for salads, sauces, freezing, poaching and baking, giving consumers amazing flexibility with meal planning and preparation during the holidays.

Five-pound bags of Piñatas, which Mr. Pepperl said are a real value, will be available at retail.

Stemilt continues to enjoy success with its “LIL SNAPPERS” branded apples and pears, which are perfectly designed to fit in young children’s hands. Recently the company entered into a venture with Sunkist and added kid-sized citrus to its “LIL SNAPPERS” line.

And the prospects for pears from the Pacific Northwest are equally juicy. “Right now we are in full varieties,” Mr. Pepperl told The Produce News Oct. 30. “We’ll really be pushing those holiday pear ads.” Varieties such as Comice, Concorde, Seckel and Anjous enjoy good sales at this time of year.

Interest in properly ripened pears is increasing at retail. “More than anything, we’re pushing the ripe button,” Mr. Pepperl said. “Consumers really want these over the holidays.”

Stemilt will offer a variety of secondary display bins to its retail partners to move both apples and pears. A special newly designed tri-wall bin replicates an apple skin on the outside of the display. “We also have one that’s a giant pear,” Mr. Pepperl went on to say. The company’s popular Apple Rama and Pear Rama displays will also be available.