Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I'm Bob Larson with today's Fruit Grower Report. We told you yesterday about using Ethylene gas conditioning to kick-start the ripening process in pears, but Pear Bureau Northwest CEO Kevin Moffitt says there's nothing un-natural about the practice ...

KEVIN MOFFITT – PC-10A = 12 sec ... "Not that I know of. It's actually, it's the same, like I say regimen that, Ethylene is a ripening hormone, a natural ripening hormone. It's just introduced into these rooms from the outside of the fruit."

But, Moffitt says it's counter-productive to worry consumers unnecessarily ...

KEVIN MOFFITT – PC-10B = 26 sec ... "It's nothing that's controversial. However, we don't necessarily suggest that a retailer call it "conditioned fruit" or anything like that. We suggest they call it ripened fruit because consumers are going to jump and say "conditioned with what? What does that mean conditioned, or gassed or whatever." So consumers can be, they can be curious about what that means, but bananas can use Ethylene in their organic program. Organic bananas can be conditioned with Ethylene."

That, however, is not the same for pears ...

KEVIN MOFFITT – PC-10C = 18 sec ... "Unfortunately, pears cannot be ripened with that same Ethylene and be called organic because the Organic Standards Board grandfathered, er well they had Ethylene used for other fruit, but when we tried to get it on pears they wouldn't approve it even though it's been used for these other fruits. It's a strange, non-science reasoning, but ..."

Of the 54 Northwest shippers, 32 have conditioning capability.

Conditioned pears sell nearly 20 percent better than unconditioned pears.

Next ReportDomestic Apples Outlook