[nafex] Big 4 Commercial Pears

Tom Olenio tolenio at sentex.net
Fri Nov 17 09:22:07 EST 2000


Just look at apples in Ontario.   The Ontario Apple Marketing Commission only
promotes 13 varieties of apples; (their descriptions, not mine)


                   Red Delicious - Redder than Ronald's hair...
                      Cortland - That's a nice lookin' apple
                    Crispin (Mutsu) - A taste of the Orient...
                         Empire - The upper class apple...
                Golden Delicious - This ain't your Granny's apple.
                   Idared - Can't find yours? Check the oven...
                        McIntosh - Ontario's Pride and Joy!
                     Spartan - The one that nabbed Snow White!
                       Northern Spy - James Bond's favorite!
                         Jonagold - Better than Jonabronze
               Golden Russet - Proof that beauty is only skin deep!
                           Fuji - A mountain of flavour
                           Gala - The superstar of fruit

This is true of both their web site and printed material that I have picked up at
local agricultural fairs.  I am not bashing them, but pointing out the limit of
their scope.

I don't know if OAMC are promoting other varieties, but I have not seen anything in
that regard.  I am unaware of what goes on with their membership behind the
scenes.  I can say, that the list above represents all the apples I ever see in our
local supermarkets.

It would appear to me that as long as only "mainstream", "Mc Donald's-like" fruit
is promoted to the public, that is all you will ever see.

It does strike me that the "Got Milk?" campaign that was so popular, never asked
"Got whole milk?", "Got skim milk?", "Got buttermilk?", Got 2% milk?", etc., etc.,
etc..  They promoted milk in general, not just certain milk products.


Sam Brungardt wrote:

> Growers sell what consumers buy and what they know they can produce
> profitably.  The Big 4 are cultivars for which production methods
> (fertilization, disease and other pest control, storage methods) have
> been worked out.  Magness may be a terrific-tasting pear, but it has
> some drawbacks, such as its polliination requirements.
> Supermarkets sell what consumers are familiar with, what they can
> get, and what they know will be popular.  The Big 4 are cultivars
> that have established reputations, industry promotion, and marketing
> channels.  In some ways, they may also be the best examples of their
> types.   Some other pear cultivars are sometimes sold in supermarkets
> -- Forelle or Trout pears and Seckel, for example, and of course the
> Asian "apple" pears -- but the taste and texture differences in most
> pears may simply be not as varied as is the case with apples.  The
> availability of pears from the Southern Hemisphere when pears
> normally would be unavailable to consumers likely perpetuates the
> dominance of the Big 4, although some imported pears being sold under
> Big 4 names may actually be other cultivars.
> However, the recemt consumer awareness of new and different apple
> cultivars may hint at more diversity in pears sold in supermarkets in
> the future.  Also promising are the offerings of new and imported
> cultivars by some nurseries, both wholesale and retail.
> Much of the research in the U.S. and Canada has gone toward the
> development of fireblight-resistant and cold-hardy pears that can be
> grown outside the commercial growing areas.  While some
> blight-resistant and cold-hardy cultivars are good, it's petty remote
> that any will unseat the established Big 4.--Sam Brungardt, St. Paul,
> Minn.
> >Doreen Howard wrote:
> >
> >>  After researching heirloom pears for several weeks and interviewing 4
> >>  growers of the same, I have a burning question that you experts may be able
> >>  to answer.  Why are the big 4 commercial pear varieties--Bartlett, Bosc,
> >>  Anjou and Comice-- a couple of centuries old?  One would think that hybrids
> >>  with their improved disease resistance, etc. would have replaced these
> >>  heirloom varieties.  Is it taste?  Is it lack of imagination?  Or what?
> >  > Please venture forth with your opinions.
> >>
> >  > Doreen Howard
> >>  In Wisconsin, where it's snowing and snowing.
> >>
> >
> >

Thomas Olenio
Ontario, Canada
Hardiness Zone 6a

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