California Avocado Season Expected To End Early
The good news is that we had more rain this year. Unfortunately 1 out of 6 years of rain does not end a drought. Add the recent California heat wave to the mix and the avocado supply has become depleted. The extreme heat stresses out the trees, causing the stems to shrivel and the fruit to drop before reaching full maturity. The majority of the fruit affected is coming out of the southern growing regions of Temecula and Fallbrook in San Diego County. Our growers are reporting that a good portion of their remaining crop has been lost, tightening up supply and resulting in higher prices. We anticipate having California Hass avocados through July and it will be slim pickings in August.
Over the years we have seen the California Hass avocado season last into September/October but this is the third year in a row the season has ended in July/August. Avocados are heavy water users and need up to 300 gallons a week in hotter weather. Years of drought combined with limited water usage in California all contribute to the season wrapping up extremely early.
We will continue to source avocados as long as possible out of the San Diego and Riverside areas, the first regions of California production. The Southern California avocados have been on the tree longer and are more mature, meaning they ripen quicker, have a higher oil content and should be eaten firm. The remaining supply will be coming from Northern California which starts up production in May/June, think Ventura up to Santa Cruz. This fruit is less mature, ripens later and should be eaten with a little give. To add another layer the Mexican season will start up in August and we will evaluate the fruit at that time.
*You will often find avocados with different levels of maturity in the same display. Be sure to ask your produce person where your avocados are from.
Storage and Eating Tips:
*Store at a moderate temperature of 45-55 degrees. Putting avocados in the coldest part of your refrigerator will “burn them”.
*Black spots that appear in the flesh are caused by storage in cold temperatures so make sure to take the avocado out of the refrigerator to finish ripening.
*Eat firmer than usual and experiment with the ripening time.
We can look forward to the California season starting up again in February out of San Diego. Follow us on social media for produce updates.