Seasonal avo gap sends prices skyhigh

Smashed avocado under strict rationing in Australian cafes

It is not uncommon for Australian cafes to ration their avocado servings. A gap in the harvest seasons caused avocado supplies to drop and prices to spike. The popular fruit is being sold for as much as $9 apiece in supermarkets.

Head chef of Cairns cafe, Caffiend, Madeleine Crawford, said the cost of wholesale trays has also surged. "This time last year they probably would have been down to $ 45-50 a tray and now we're paying $ 95 a tray," she said. Miss Crawford said ‘smashed avo on toast’ is their most popular dish, along with sides of half an avocado.

Brisbane market wholesaler Peter Kedwell from Persehouse Produce said, recent crops in New Zealand and Western Australia were lighter than average and both seasons ended earlier than usual. This, coupled with Australia's continuing love affair with avocados, has upset the market balance. “We're talking $ 70-plus for a box, so I guess that works out to about $ 6 for a piece of fruit, or at cost about $ 3.50."

The next region to harvest avocados is far north Queensland. The season generally starts in February, but Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas told ABC that some growers are starting earlier. The region is expecting a bumper crop, forecast to deliver 3.8 million trays, up from last year's 3.2 million.

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