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First Crop Of California Avocados

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A new crop of California Hass avocados is starting up. The California season starts in January/February in San Diego and continues north through Ojai, 1½ hours north of Los Angeles, up through Santa Barbara county and even as far north as Cambria and Cayucos, located a little north of San Luis Obispo and west of Paso Robles on the coast.

During the late fall and winter Hass avocados come from Mexico, Chile and Peru in the Southern Hemisphere and allow us to have year round avocados.  There will be some years where the last of the Northern California crop will overlap into January with the first of the Southern Hemisphere crop.  What would the Super Bowl be without a bowl of guacamole? The avocados are picked young in their cycle so they can be packed and delivered either by boat from Peru or Chile or trucked in from Mexico and arrive not yet ripened.  When they are picked early the oil content is not able to develop to its full potential.

As we eagerly await the California Hass avocados we must be patient.  Buyers should be aware of the avocado growing cycles and know that they can be disappointed with an early crop.  The cycle of maturation, no matter where avocados are grown in the world, means the early crop will have low oil content , low flavor and uneven inconsistent ripening. The trees are full of fruit and in order to continue to size and produce, the tree needs to be relieved of their burden to make room for the next more flavorful picking.  The oil content will develop as they mature with each picking.  For example, Hass avocados from San Diego where the first crop develops will taste the best earliest in the year, think April/May.  As the months go on avocados from the central coast and even farther north will develop the high oil content and flavor we expect from a California avocado.

When you are out shopping ask your local produce person where their California Hass are grown.  You will be sure to buy a better tasting avocado if you choose based on seasonality and geography, Southern California to start off in January/February and work your way north as each area of California finishes their harvest and another area begins.   By June/July most of the California avocados should be at their peak oil content if they are picked at maturity.  The Hass season runs vertically from South to North, following the shape of California which is long and narrow.  The regions will overlap a bit as one finishes and the next one is starting.  Avoid the earliest crop of any avocado and think low oil content.

You can count on us to keep you up to date on the California Hass.  Each year the timing is different and the climate can have a major impact on how it ripens and availability.  Extreme weather such as heavy freezes, rains and extreme fire can damage the crop.  We will continue exploring this area and more in future postings on the California Hass Avocado.


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