Avocados: From Meso-American backyards to world domination

Avocados are now riding a tide of extreme popularity. But while they are appearing on toast in cookbooks and trendy restaurant menus, these fruits came late to commercial agriculture, is Cynthia Graber's and Nicola Twilley's claim in Gastropod. Gastropod is a podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history.

The 48-minute story features Mary Lu Arpaia, UC Cooperative Extension specialist based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. Arpaia runs the UC avocado breeding program and is now studying varieties that will do well in the San Joaquin Valley climate.

Arpaia outlines the avocado’s humble beginnings in their native Mexico and Central America. "It was grown as a dooryard crop tree and valued for thousands of years. There was no intensive production of avocado until the industries in California and Florida started about 100 years ago."

Graber and Twilley spent time on the show describing the "avocado toast" sensation around the globe. The duo quoted an article in Vogue that says 3 million new pictures of avocado toast are uploaded to Instagram every day.
Acording to the article on ucanr.edu, the future for avocados looks bright. Already China imports 32,000 tons of avocados annually, but the market potential is much greater. "I can't even imagine how big avocado will get in China," said one of the Gastropod hosts.

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