Hass Avocado Pre-Conditioning Process
The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlán, Mexico dating around 10,000 BCE. Making it quite possible that Montezuma scooped up his ahuacamolli (guacamole) with a fresh corn tortilla, the same way millions on super bowl Sunday have done over 500 years later.
The name has changed over time, but the main ingredient has remained the same, RIPE AVOCADOS…
Avocados are very unique in that they begin the ripening process once they are off the tree. The avocado fruit can rest quietly on the branch for 6-8 months or longer after blossom before being ready for harvest. It is this delicate and patient process that we keep in mind while preconditioning our avocados at Earl’s Organic Produce.
We receive our avocados green and firm from some of the best growers in California and Mexico, depending on the time of year. The ideal temperature of these green avocados upon arrival is between 40-50 degrees F. The ideal temperature for ripening these same avocados is between 60-65 degrees F. This conditioning process extends far beyond simply raising the temperature of the fruit by 20 degrees.
At Earl’s we do not use forced air ripening rooms for avocados, nor do we use ethylene. We allow the fruit to ripen as it would naturally off of the tree, simply by controlling and monitoring the temperature at which the fruit rests. We have found that this intensive and time consuming process is best for conditioning avocados, resulting in the perfect vibrant deep green avocado that is ready to eat.
- To begin our conditioning program, we isolate the selected fruit and place it at ambient temperature, usually between 50-60 degrees depending on the season.
- The appearance and temperature of this fruit is monitored and logged at least twice daily, to ensure a perfect conditioning process.
- This fruit typically will start releasing ethylene within 24-48 hours at the ambient temperature. At this stage the fruit will also begin producing its own heat, which requires close attention to ensure the fruit does not exceed 70 degrees F, causing irregular ripening as well as possible decay.
- Ethylene is a natural plant hormone released in the form of a gas.
- Once the fruit begins producing ethylene, we may place a large plastic covering over the pallet, this will trap the gas produced and help accelerate the conditioning process, however this is not always necessary.
- There may be times in the season in which the fruit begins to ripen at a faster pace than we may like, and this requires different action to slow and cool the fruit. We would first air stack the pallet, allowing cool air to move and circulate more freely around the boxes, and if necessary we may use large fans to “blow” the warmer air out of the fruit.
- Because every piece and box of this fruit will often condition at its own pace throughout the season, we may have multiple pallets receiving its own different and custom treatment at any given time. This is when the process becomes immensely consumptive, but in the end it is worth it to provide that perfectly conditioned avocado!Providing the customer with “ready to eat” fruit results in increased overall sales and improved customer satisfaction and in the end ripe avocados outsell green avocados 2 to 1.
Earl’s Organic Produce has been conditioning avocados for nearly 2 years now, offering all counts and sizes as “pre conditioned” on our daily Earl’s Organic pricelist. We have seen great success with this program and have received nothing but positive feedback from our customers involved in this program.
We are passionate at Earl’s about providing hand conditioned avocados to you and your customers, as this delicious fruit deserves no less. Let Earl’s do the work for you by providing beautifully conditioned avocados.