(Jan. 7, 1:00 p.m.) Northwest pear grower-shippers forecast heavy promotions of high-quality bosc and red anjou pears in the second half of the winter.

Highway and interstate closings in Washington in late December and early January haven’t had, and weren’t expected to have, a significant effect on movement, they said.

In early January anjou markets were steady, with volumes off slightly, but bosc and red anjou markets were “a little sluggish” because of higher volumes this season, said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash.

That should provide retailers with ample promotional opportunities for moving red anjous in the coming weeks, she said.

Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Yakima, Wash.-based Domex Superfresh Growers, agreed.

“There are nice opportunities on promotions on boscs, in particular, and also on red anjous,” he said. “To get a multiple mix in departments after the first of the year is a big key to movement. When you have two, three or four varieties at the same time, there’s a lot more excitement.”

Bosc volumes are projected to be up about 25% for both Domex and the industry as a whole, Queen said.

Taste should help drive strong demand for all remaining varieties in coming weeks, said Steve Reisenhauer, sales manager for Sage Fruit Co., Yakima.

“Fruit is eating fabulously, and demand has been picking up really well since the holidays,” he said.

On Jan. 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $22-24 for 4/5-bushel cartons of anjous size 70-100 from Washington, up from $19-22 last year at the same time.

Bosc size 70-90 were $22, down from $24 last year at the same time.

Sage Fruit will likely ship anjous into March and boscs into March or April this year, Reisenhauer said.

Rainier Fruit plans to finish shipping bartletts by about mid-January, Wolter said. Both Domex and Sage Fruit were done shipping bartletts by January.

For two weeks in late December and early January, the interstate over Snoqualmie Pass was closed off and on, Wolter said.

Trucks were detoured to White Pass and Stevens Pass. But those routes are not as fast as the interstate, delaying delivery of some product, she said.

Those routes also have been closed at times in recent weeks.

Trucks getting out of Washington late faced further delays in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and other states because of bad weather, Wolter said.

Still, weather complications are nothing new, and weren’t expected to have a huge effect on movement or markets, Wolter said.

“It’s slowed things down a little bit, but we deal with this every year,” she said.

Reisenhauer and Queen agreed that the snow will have little effect on pear shipments.