One grower shipper has just brought in its first organic Colombian avocados into the U.S. this week.
Brian Gomez, president and founder of Greenfruit Avocados, at the first avocado tree planting in Colombia.
In 2018, Greenfruit Avocados LLC. of Newport Beach, CA planted 400 hectares of avocados. “It’s mostly organic. We planted and grew through a biodynamic method—that means everything we’ve grown there can be certified organic. I don’t know if we’ll bring it all in under organic though,” says Dan Acevedo of Greenfruit. He notes there’ll are a few windows in which the fruit will be shipped—from now until early March and then early May to the end of July and then finally from October to the end of the year.
In addition, Acevedo notes avocados are plentiful right now from Mexico. “We’ll get to the normal bloom and we’re projecting there’s still 80 percent of the bloom available to carry us into late June,” he says. He says California is also just starting production. “We’re expecting them to ramp up—they’ll become more significant as we move into March.”
Acevedo also adds that while size 48s and 60s dominate the bell curve in sizing, larger fruit is coming. “We’re also seeing a larger percentage of jumbo avocados and we’re going to see larger sizes because of the size of fruit that stays on the trees,” he says.
In 2018, Greenfruit planted 400 hectares of avocado trees. Here, Gomez stands in front of the first grove planted.
The health connection
Meanwhile demand is good for avocados. “Household penetration has elevated throughout the country. People are becoming more health conscious in these times and that’s definitely helped with consumption in the U.S.,” says Acevedo. “Domestic use is down in Mexico slightly because of some of the tourist spots. Compounded with foodservice taking a pretty good hit this year, retail has enjoyed some excellent pricing and has done a good job moving the fruit through aggressive promotions.”
Pricing has started to change as the Superbowl inches closer. “We’ve hit some historic lows as we concluded 2020 and in the first few weeks of 2021. We’ve seen a slight elevation in field prices but that’s to be expected with the Superbowl pull,” says Acevedo. “I think right after that, we’ll see it level back off and have plenty of supply with good pricing for the next few months.”
Field prices have started to come back up for avocados.
However, what Superbowl demand will look like remains a bit of a question mark. “Restaurants aren’t going to be having any big Superbowl parties. Are people going to party at home and drive consumption? It’s still really uncertain,” Acevedo says. “I anticipate it to be a very good Superbowl season simply because the fruit is good for you and the price that it’s at, with strong promotions, will continue to drive usage and consumption.”