Kids + Pears

Prepare for cuteness: photos of little kids and pears!  Photo contests are always fun to see how people get creative.  This year in St. Petersburg, Russia, we held a contest with a parenting website, asking moms and dads to show us how their kiddos enjoy USA Pears.  Some shots were candid, while others were posed, but all results were adorable!

As proven by these shots, kids and pears go great together, and we’ve got kid friendly recipes, nutrition information, and our brand new Pear World kids’ website for you to explore with your little ones!

Russia Kids & Pears Contest

First Taste of Fall!

Summer has flown by, and while I never want to wish it away, I LOVE the fall.  For me, the first sign that it’s on the way is the beginning of the USA Pear harvest.

Among the first of the season: this Green Bartlett that showed up at the office yesterday.  I can’t wait for it to ripen up – it’s the only major variety that will noticeably change skin color from green to yellow as it ripens.  But of course, my go-to test for ripeness for any variety is to Check the Neck!

These delicious little beauties are en route to Moscow, Russia, for sampling.  But they’ll start popping up soon in your local grocery stores, if they haven’t already, along with Red Bartletts and Starkrimson.  These early season varieties are at center stage now – while the Anjou, Bosc, and others are still on the trees – so enjoy the first fresh, juicy, sweet, and delicious taste of fall!

pears

Standing Out in Russia

Anjoulina Russia

I just returned from a trip to St. Petersburg, in Western Russia.  Russia is a large market for USA Pears – and competes with Brazil every year to be either third or fourth place after Mexico and Canada.  The weather was clear and the city was beautiful, but it was freezing.  More accurately, below freezing.  At one point it reached -13 degrees Fahrenheit.  A bit of a shock for someone like me, who has only known the fairly mild winters of the Pacific Northwest!  But I would consider this to be part of the true Russian experience.

Russia imports pears from all over the world, in addition to the U.S.  So how do USA Pears stand out on the shelves at the grocery store?  One way is through the multiple varieties and colors of USA Pears.  In the Russian Far East, shoppers are more used to the many varieties, while in Western Russia – which is nine time zones away – they are still becoming familiar.  In a sea of green pears in the produce department, pears like the Red Anjou (like Anjoulina above, at the Church on the Spilled Blood) catch attention.  Of course they are delicious to eat fresh, but they also add color and flavor to any recipe!

New Season Prep

Warehouse

Here at Pear Bureau HQ, the warehouse holds all of our USA Pear promotional materials: from signs and posters that are sent to grocery stores to brochures and recipe handouts.  And everything in between!  Before harvest, as we’re getting ready for the new season, we put together shipments of all these goodies to send to 39 countries around the world.

These little guys are on their way to Russia as we speak!  They’ll be used as giveaways at the grocery store or handed out to kids during school activities.  We often hear stories about shoppers that come back, year after year, asking for Pear Buddies when they buy their USA Pears at the grocery store.  Pear Buddy collections have been spotted sitting in the back window of cars, hanging from backpacks, and lined up on desks at offices.

You, too, can peruse these items and more at the USA Pears Marketplace!

Pear Shipment

Pear Materials

Say Cheeeeeese!!!

Pear Cheese

As promised, Russia is back to work after the extended New Year holidays, and the results of the USA Pear photo contest are in!  If you remember our holiday photo contest in Colombia last year, it’s always interesting to see what people come up with and how they get creative.

Here is my personal favorite, which just so happens to also be the grand prize winner!  Prizes included a netbook computer, iPods, and free pears.

Bosc Heart

Here are a few other memorable entries, and you can view the top 20 finalists here.

Pear-Snow

Pears - Guitar

Pear Wedding

Cooking with Babushka

russia-pos2Russia is the largest country in the world.  It spans 11 time zones.  That means that our USA Pears office in St. Petersburg (on the Baltic Sea) is 7 hours behind our office in Vladivostok (on the Pacific Ocean)!  Last year we sent over 12 million pounds of USA Pears to the Russian markets.

 

On special promotion days at the grocery store, Russian shoppers are greeted at the USA Pears display by babushkas, which is the Russian word for a grandmother.  Because who better than your sweet and trustworthy Grandma to teach you about delicious USA Pears?  And is there a grandmother in the world that isn’t a wonderful cook that can share her recipes with you?

russia-in-store-2Many Russian shoppers are women with children, so the idea is that a kind-hearted babushka invites them to try USA Pears during sampling and learn how to incorporate pears into cooking for their families.  Many of the recommended dishes are served hot – notice the shoppers in parkas and fur coats.  Russian winters are cold!  Based on my experience with my own grandma and the responses in Jenny’s November blog, pears can fill your kitchen (and your heart!) with love and warmth.  Cheesy-sounding but true!

russia-in-store-3