I saw many delicious-looking USA Pears in all of the markets, and the quality of the fruit is outstanding, especially considering the long journey required to arrive! The most popular variety is usually the Green Anjou, followed by Red Anjou and Bosc. This year there is also interest in trying the smaller varieties, like Forelle and Seckel. The more varieties, the better! It’s great to see shoppers introduced to all the different flavors that USA Pears have to offer. (Side note: you must go to your own grocery store and pick up as many varieties of USA Pears that they have, then go home and sample each one to decide on your favorite! Mine is Comice.)
In many of these countries, despite the growing number of supermarkets, the traditional markets still play an important part. While some shoppers prefer to do their grocery shopping at a supermarket (which are no different than the ones we shop at here in the U.S., except that most of them are attached to large shopping malls – at least the ones that I saw), many shoppers prefer the traditional or informal market, which can be street vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables and other products.
Interestingly, the Bosc variety in particular has become very popular in Guatemala in the last few years. Even though shoppers are not used to a brown pear, Guatemala has become the third largest market for USA Boscs. I was very curious to find out why this happened in such a short period of time. Speaking with an importer, I heard one version of the story. Importers make the decisions about what is available for shoppers in both the supermarkets and the traditional markets. A few years ago, one street vendor from the traditional market came to the importer and asked for a brown Bosc pear. The importer had never seen one! But he ordered a small amount to arrive with his other varieties, and they were all sold instantly! So the importer began ordering more and more, and shoppers have adopted Bosc pears as their favorite variety.