With California projected to harvest its second smallest avocado crop in the last 40 years, only West Coast buyers may be able to have California fruit to sell this year.
Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, said the expected pack-out of 175 million pounds is about half as large as last year’s crop.
“It will stay closer to home,” she said February 21. “Our goal is to keep the fruit with our loyal customers.”
She said key Western retailers want to stay with California fruit once they start.
California harvested 337.8 million pounds last year. This year’s 175 million would be the lowest since the 2009 season’s 174.5 million, and you would have to go back to 1980 to find the next smallest crop at 148.4 million.
DeLyser said last summer’s heat was a big factor, but the good news is that this year has seen abundant rainfall, and many growers have been planting trees, so crops should be larger the next few years.
She said there is some cultural avocado picking now, but heavy volume will begin in April and probably run through August this season.
DeLyser said marketing is a little different with a smaller crop that won’t be able to meet demand.
“We have researched the super-consumer, and we want to connect with that consumer who really appreciates the California avocado,” she said.