(Sept. 24, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) The first of the season’s Asian pears have begun rolling out the door at Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash.

The bulk of Stemilt’s Asian pear volume comes from the 58 acre orchards of Jeff and Kristine Boullioun, Oroville, Wash., said Roger Pepperl, marketing director for Stemilt Growers, one of the northwest’s major apple grower-shippers.

“Overall, the Asian pears are a small part of Stemilt’s inventory, but a very important signature part of our business,” Pepperl said.

The Boulliouns grow 11 varieties of organic Asian pears that are picked variety-by-variety so that there is a continuous supply of fresh fruit through the fall, Pepperl said. Supplies of the late varieties will be available until about mid-January, he said.

“The Boulliouns have the most unique Asian pear program I’ve ever seen,” Pepperl said.

All of the farm’s Asian pears are protected by foam “socks” and hand-packed, he said, and every variety is organic. Stemilt Growers is the exclusive marketer of the Boulliouns’ Asian pears, he said.