Convenience is at the heart of research being done by WSU's Amit Dhingra on sliced pears. Already the sliced apple market has been growing but Dhingra says there have been some problems transferring that to pears.
DHINGRA: There are several issues that distinguish pears from apples in the sliced deal. We have taken a disadvantage with pears and turned it into an advantage which has made sliced pears impossible. When we treat apples with SmartFresh they remain crunchy and good but when we treat pears with SmartFresh they never ripen.
He says they discovered a natural ripening compound that when used in conjunction with SmartFresh allows pears to be sliced and packaged.
DHINGRA: CrunchPak has been working with us on this for the last two years and that research has been predominately funded by the pear groups. And we've done some consumer trials as well where we found this stuff is working pretty nice and consumers really prefer the product.
Dhingra's work on sliced pears has gotten a boost from the recent Specialty Crop funding announced last week by the USDA.
DHINGRA: What we are trying to do with that money is we've already done the preliminary work, now there are two main parts here. One is to produce this enough and bring it in front of consumers to multiple outlets. I think the second, more important aspect is an economic analysis for the consumer. Everybody wants to eat pears but they're put off because they cannot get a good, consistently ripe experience.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.