Dr. Prasad loved working on the farm even when he was a child in India. He grew up to be a Doctor but his love for agriculture never waned and he continued to farm while practicing medicine in India. When he moved to the United States 45 years ago and eventually settled down in Oxnard, in Southern California. Dr. Prasad had the opportunity to buy a piece of land and MVP Farms was born. Over the years he added additional parcels of land and 10 years ago he converted most of his farm to organic.
MVP is named after Doctor Mummaneni Veema Prasad and his employees call him Doc on a daily basis. Dr. Prasad practices medicine part time and spends the remainder of his time farming on his 188 acres in Fillmore, CA in the beautiful and historic Santa Clara River Valley. A drive along scenic highway 126, only 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean, is packed full of avocado and citrus orchards and produce stands. Doc has 110 acres of organic avocados, 2 ½ acres of organic exotic tropical dragon fruit and passion fruit and the remaining acreage is allocated to organic lemons and avocado orchards transitioning to organic. The orchards are surrounded by hills that naturally protect the avocado trees from the strong Santa Ana winds.
The California Hass avocado season starts up out of the San Diego area usually around the beginning of January. The first fruit harvested is less mature, low in oil content and typically has low flavor. The warm winter brought the season on earlier and we were pleasantly surprised that the California Hass had good flavor right off the bat.
MVP tests their avocados for oil content before they begin harvesting for the season. If the oil content and prices on the market look good they will schedule their first picking. The workers are not allowed to touch the fruit by hand and use clippers to cut each piece of fruit. Tarps are placed under the trees to protect any avocados from touching the ground. The workers put the avocados in a bag and empty them when full into a picking bin parked close by. The picker tools and bins are cleaned daily.
Technology is used on the farm to track traceability and to improve farming methods. Every piece of fruit that is harvested has full traceability back to when it was picked, the block it was picked from and the worker that picked the fruit. As California enters its 4th year of drought, growers are constantly thinking of ways to improve their water usage. Manuel DuBon, MVP’s Farm Operations Manager, uses technology to improve the farm’s irrigation system and measure the water content of the soil.
Look for MVP avocados landing this week at Earl’s. As we head into April avocados coming from the San Diego area are more mature and have developed great flavor. For more information on how fruit maturity affects the oil content and ripening of your avocados click here.
Trivia Question: How many gallons of water does it take to produce 1 pound of avocados?
- 74 gallons
- 20 gallons
- 54 gallons
Answer: If you answered 74 gallons you guessed right!