California Hass Avocado Season Ending Early
The California hass avocado season started off early this year and will end on an earlier note. We usually see the season start up in February/March and over the last few years the season has extended into September/October. This year California Avocados were harvested in early January and many of our growers are anticipating they will be done picking most of their crop in the month of July. Although we know from past experience that a grower may have another picking just when we thought the season was over.
There are a number of factors contributing to an early end of the season and all of them relate in some way to the drought. As we enter our 4th year of the California drought the trees continue to be stressed and as a result they produced earlier. Picking earlier meant they would not have to use as much water as they do in the latter and hotter months. Early fruit is known to be immature and have low oil content, but surprisingly the early fruit this season had good oil levels and flavor.
In response to the drought growers are “turning off” some of their groves. They are cutting back the trees to stumps and not watering them due to the high cost of water and strict water restriction mandates. A few of the groves are also being converted to fruit trees such as cara cara, gold nugget or dragon fruit which use less water than avocado trees.
According to the California Avocado Commission “While California’s drought has impacted some of our farmers, the industry has been able to maintain its productivity. Our growers have a long history of good agricultural practices including water conservation. We are hopeful that the forecast for El Nino conditions in the fall will bring some relief to our state and agriculture. We do not anticipate supply problems or drought related price impacts for next season.”
Buying and Eating Tips:
At this time of year all California avocados will be eating great! Buyer needs be to be aware that crops from the southern area will be more mature, meaning they ripen quicker, have a higher oil content and should be eaten firm. Crops from Northern California are less mature because the season starts later and should be eaten riper with a little give. When in doubt engage in a conversation with your produce person and ask where their avocados are from.