The California avocado season is experiencing unique
circumstances this year. The season is off to a late start and is expected to
end early. To give you a frame of reference, last year the season started in January
and this year the first organic California avocados landed at Earl’s the beginning
of March.  The southern California
region, think San Diego County, is estimated to be done harvesting by June. The
northern California region, think Morro Bay, will start up in late summer and
go into early Fall depending on how growers manage their supply.

Overall volume will also be smaller this year. The current
California avocado season is predicted to be approximately half the size of
last year with an estimated total harvest of 175 million pounds with 8% (14
million pounds) grown organically.  This
dramatic decrease in volume is due partially to this being an alternate bearing
year, but primarily to a record-setting heat wave last summer where avocado
growing regions across Southern California saw temperatures between 118-122
degrees for a two-day period.  This
intense heat destroyed much of the young fruit set that would grow into the
2019 crop.  We have heard from several
small California growers reporting total crop failures for the season.

How Will California
Avocado Growers Handle Their Crop This Year?

It will be hard to forecast volume and pricing this year. The
growers that do have fruit are monitoring their trees and have to decide how to
maximize their return. On one hand there will be growers that have a very
limited crop. They may decide to hold fruit on the tree longer and pick in a
fashion in order to maximize their inventory and return. Then there will be
growers that have good supply and will have an opportunity this year to get top
dollar for their crop. 

The good news is that we will be providing California
avocados for the duration of the season. We just don’t know how long that will
be.  We just ripened our first arrival of
fruit from San Diego County this week and these California avocados are truly

Mexican Avocado Crop

The Mexican avocado season is well into the ‘Normal’
season.  All avocados imported into the
U.S. from Mexico are grown in the mountainous state of Michoacán.  With an ideal combination of rich, volcanic
soil, abundant sunshine and well-timed rainfall, Michoacán is one of the few
places in the world where avocados can be grown year-round.  Furthermore, there are four seasons or blooms
associated with the Mexican crop; Flora Loca, Aventajada, Normal and
Marzena.  Flora Loca avocados are picked June-September
and Aventajada is from July-October. 
Normal represents the majority of production with harvest from September
thru February while Marzena is March to June. 
The Normal & Marzena fruit has increased dry matter content.  Dry matter, defined as the part of food that
would remain if all of its water content were removed, is assessed to determine
maturity, ripening behavior and flavor. 
The higher the dry matter the faster the fruit ripens and shelf life
decreases.  Also, higher percentage of
dry matter relates to higher oil content and buttery flavor and mouthfeel.  We will carry Equal Exchange, Fair Trade
Mexican avocados for the next few weeks until the California season hits its
early stride.

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