An intense heat wave in July of 2018 took a steep toll on 2019 California avocado volumes and left production numbers at approximately 200 million pounds this year. The good news is that the 2020 crop is already on the trees and is looking really good. “According to early estimates, 2020 production will be around 350 million pounds but we won’t have the ‘official’ estimate until closer to the season in mid-December,” says Jan DeLyser with the California Avocado Commission.“ We had perfect weather conditions this year, which is really important for next year’s set,” she added. “That said, California is currently experiencing extreme wind events, so we are hoping for the best outcome.”
Next year's crop. Photo credit: California Avocado Commission.
“Because of lower production this past season, we mainly targeted customers who have demonstrated loyalty to California avocados in seasons past,” DeLyser said. Due to geographic proximity, the majority of California avocado distribution was naturally tied to the U.S. West Coast, but some were also shipped to specific retailers in the Midwest. “Whole Foods for instance had a dedicated California avocado program in many parts of the country.”
Next year’s larger crop forecast will likely result in an expanded season. “We are hoping to begin shipping as early as February with volume shipments from March until September,” said DeLyser. Although there will be more volume available, the Commission will still use a targeted approach. This includes distribution to retailers and foodservice operators who have a preference for and are loyal to California avocados when available. In addition, target markets include areas where the California avocado brand is ‘local’ and brand development is stronger. “With this targeted approach, we are able to provide very specific marketing support.”
2020 avocado crop. Credit: California Avocado Commission.