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Fruit Growers Cash In On New Asian Pear
The hottest news in fruit-growing country is the rapid growth of a "new" Asian fruit variety that looks like an apple but tastes like a pear.
Sometimes called an "apple pear", Asian pears don't really have anything to do with apples. They just share the same shape and have a crunchy texture that's a lot like an apple. They taste so good, in fact, that growers who planted trees several years ago get a market price 2 to 4 times higher than ordinary pears.
"There's been an explosion of interest the past few years. We're selling them all over the country," says Bob Fowler, of Fowler Nurseries, Newcastle, Calif., one of the largest producers of Asian pear seedstock. He says the pears are popular for several reasons. "They're unique-looking and tasty and they ripen on the tree so no after-ripening is necessary as with ordinary pears. They also store 10 to 14 days at room temperature and for 3 or 4 months in refrigerated storage."
Fowler says the Asian trees, which begin to bear fruit 2 to 3 years after planting ,adapt to climates varying from Hawaii to northern states with 10? below zero weather. "We've sold trees to Michigan and into eastern Canada. If it gets much colder than 10? below zero we suggest growers try a couple trees first to see how they'll do," he notes, adding that disease and pest problems are no different for the tree than other pear varieties. Most trees range in height from 15 to 25 ft. and they require thinning of the fruit to get large fruit size.
Although most Asian pear eaters prefer the fruit raw, Fowler says it can be cooked, dried, canned or pressed into juice. He notes that many soldiers who served in Asia during World War II or since remember the fruit and will pay a premium to obtain it. Each mature tree - 8 to 10 years old - yields 150 to 200lbs. of fruit. Prices to the grower range as high as $2.99 per pound.
Fowler Nurseries sells the trees for $5.00 apiece in lots of 20 or more or you can buy them individually for around $9.95 apiece plus shipping.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Fowler Nurseries, Inc., 525 Fowler Rd., Newcastle, Calif. 95658 (ph 916 645-8191).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #2