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US (CA): Avocado season wraps up

Most California avocado growers are wrapping up their seasons as brokers switch over to supplies from Mexico. With less fruit from California this season, prices were strong.

“Probably 99 percent of the people are done for the season,” said Eric Thurston of Eco Farms. “I think there's a little fruit left, but the California season is just about done.” While some growers used to have avocados into October, the growing presence of Mexican fruit over the last few years has put pressure on California's suppliers to wrap up early. Less fruit has also contributed to the timing of this year's season.

“Avocados are cyclical, so one year we have a big crop that's followed by a smaller crop,” explained Thurston. He estimated that production for this year could be as much as 35 percent less than what was picked last year, due to the alternate-bearing nature of the crop as well as problems related to water shortages. With less fruit, prices have been higher than those from last year. Fruit sizes also ran smaller.

“We saw smaller fruit. There were not a lot of size 32s,” said Thurston. “Most of the bigger fruit came from up north because they had more water. Water was a little cheaper up there, so average sizes were just bigger than sizes from southern areas.” While prices for a carton of avocados coming from Mexico have hovered between $28.00 and $32.00, as the Mexican import season continues and more supplies arrive, the market could change abruptly.

“The market is not stable,” said Thurston. “Depending on how much fruit is brought in during October, prices could go down to as low as $8.00 per carton. Every year you have more guys jumping on the import deal. The more guys that are there, the sloppier it gets.”

For more information:
Eric Thurston
Eco Farms
+1 951 676 4047

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