California Avocado Growers Could Start Producing All Year Long
On the heels of the devastating news that avocado prices are out of control (with no end in sight), and coupled with the revelation that there’s now avocado chocolate to become obsessed with, there’s a bit of good news for fans of the green fruit. Researchers have been working diligently to develop more robust varieties that can grow year-round.
According to NPR’s The Salt, Americans ate two billion pounds of avocados last year, the majority of which were imported from countries like Mexico, which is just far enough south to have a nonstop growing season. California isn’t quite as lucky. The current growing season lasts from about February into the early autumn. While temperatures in California’s coastal avocado country don’t necessarily get down to what folks in the Midwest might consider “cold” during the winter, they can drop considerably enough to put a pause the whole process for a few months. That’s especially true in the true breadbasket of the state’s Central Valley where, if avocados could be grown, it could substantially increase production (and decrease imports).
That’s why Mary Lu Arpaia of the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources wants to find a hearty tree that can withstand a bigger swing in climate throughout the year. Luckily for us, she’s thinks she’s done just that. Three times over. In lieu of the standard Hass avocados, which are the finicky fruits the state mostly grows right now, Arpaia has a trio of trees she’s been developing, one of which, the GEM (named for the initials of another researcher) has all the traits that would allow it to flourish and be harvested in chillier months.
The other two varieties would also fair well and open the potential for distant growing seasons for each type, thereby creating a more constant supply. According to NPR, the GEM avocados actually performed better in taste tests than Hass, and Arpaia even says it doesn’t brown (at least in her fridge). So basically we’ll have yummier, greener guacamole and more of it all the time? Perfect. No matter what time of year you get your hands on some alligator pears, here’s a collection of every tool you could possibly need to prepare and enjoy avocados to the max.