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Despite hail damage in the Wenatchee, Washington, district, Stemilt Growers is packing and marketing its largest pear crop ever of 1.5 million 44-pound-equivalent boxes, up from 1 million last season.

Industrywide, the early-season estimate of 20 million boxes of summer and winter pears in the Pacific Northwest was revised to 16 million boxes after summer storms.

Stemilt has developed a Pear-a-Rama promotion to encourage retail demos and ads on an assortment of pear varieties, and has developed a special promotion for the Concorde pear, emphasizing its English origins. Display cards describe its flavor, and name wines and cheeses that go well with the variety.

Stemilt expects to ship about 18,000 22-pound cartons of Concorde pears this season, making it one of the largest Concorde shippers in Washington.