Low volume year for California avocado harvest
Likely owing to residual effects from the prolonged drought, the 2017 California avocado harvest yielded relatively little fruit. Despite the relatively small harvest, prices paid to growers spiked, making it a record-setting year for the price per pound, according to Rick Shade, chairperson of the California Avocado Commission and owner of Carpinteria’s Shade Farm Management. The 2017 harvest was 215 million pounds— about half of the volume projected for 2018.
In typical higher-volume years, the price per pound for avocados averages about 90 cents to $1.05, but this year farmers were getting about $1.60. At each end of the season—the start of spring and the close of summer—fruit fetched over $2 a pound. California avocados get a premium price due to their quality and easier transportation compared to fruit grown in Mexico, Peru and Chile.
The market for avocados in the United States has gone gangbusters over the last decade, so much so that foreign competition is not really competition but a way to sustain the presence of avocados in grocery stores from coast to coast. In all, 2.2 billion pounds of avocados will be consumed in the U.S. this year.
The domestic crop, which is almost wholly grown in California, made up only 10 percent of the volume consumed.
Publication date: 10/6/2017
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