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Florida's avocado season is late, with smaller volume expected
The Florida avocado crop has suffered some problems and as a result, has endured a later season start than usual. Damage to trees from Hurricane Irma last year is to blame, along with a beetle that has caused significant issues to Florida avocado growers.
"Normally we would have already started the season, but with the damage to trees from Hurricane Irma last year, the crop is late," said one Florida grower. "There is also a beetle that is menacing the avocado crop, particularly in South Florida. Volume is going to be less this year as a result and the market is higher. Customers have been waiting for the first fruits to arrive."
Dominican Republic volume helping supply
There is still some offshore volume remaining, but only in limited amounts. "We grow the Greenskin avocados in Florida, not the Hass, and we still have a small amount of Greenskin from the Dominican Republic left. We source from there during Florida's off season which is typically from winter time to June."
Marc Holbik of Ecoripe Tropicals, echoed this observation and expects that volume will remain light for the whole season. "The Florida season just began last week, with little volume tricking in," he shared. "Volumes will be very light throughout the season due to the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The season generally extends through January, with product from the Dominican Republic covering our needs from February till June."
Good quality despite lower volumes
Growers are predicting that quality will be high for the Florida Greenskin varieties, despite the damage to the trees. Later season varieties may well see a partial recovery, as reports suggest that these had more time to recover. Suppliers also noted the benefits of the Greenskin avocado, which according to them, is healthier than the Hass.
"Despite the low volume, we expect the same good quality standards out of the packinghouses, with "Donnie" then "Simmons" varieties starting the season," Holbik said. "The Florida avocado varieties, often nicknamed "Greenskin" avocados, are large with smooth bright green skin, in contrast with the darker and smaller Hass variety. They are also less oily and with fewer calories than the Hass, making them perfect for healthy meals."
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