Natural Foods Merchandiser

Pair up pears for holiday treats

December is here, and lots of different items in the produce department are exciting for winter eating: sweet potatoes, cranberries, Satsuma mandarins—I could go on and on. But don't overlook your selection of winter pears. I know you've had pears in your department for the past several months, but there is something special about pears this time of year.

Red and green d'Anjous have long been the standard for all winter pears due to their versatility and wonderful flavor. I'm sure your customers know that they are good to eat fresh, but do they know that the green d'Anjous are fantastic poached and the reds are wonderful in salads or as a perfect partner to a holiday cheese platter? Why not put a basket of red pears in the cheese case with some cheese recommendations to complement their sweet flavor and firm texture?

Are your ice tables sitting idle this time of year? Take some red d'Anjous, some bags of romaine hearts, a basket of bulk pecans, some hunks of bleu cheese and some dried cranberries, and you'll have pears and salad fixings flying out the door.

Put up a poached-pear recipe in your green d'Anjou display, and ask the prepared-foods department to offer poached pears for sale. Are you getting hungry? Your customers will be, too, when you tempt them with these delicious ideas. How about Bosch pears? With their bronze-colored long, slender necks, they're another winter favorite that your customer shouldn't walk past. Their dense yet buttery flesh makes them perfect for a pear pie. Can you just imagine waking up at a friend's or family member's house to the smell of a fresh-baked pear pie? Man, oh man, talk about making holiday wishes come true. And yes, I do mean pie for breakfast. It's actually a Christmas tradition around my house.

But wait, there's more.

If you want to really take away the wintertime blues, try broiled Bosch pears on toast with Swiss cheese and arugula. After you have made them for your crew to try, believe me, they will tell every customer they see. And you'll have to buy Bosch pears by the pallet.

Mark Mulcahy is the produce director for New Leaf Community Markets in Santa Cruz, Calif. Contact him at

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 12/p. 16

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