Brooks Tropicals marketing director Mary Ostlund told Fresh Fruit Portal the storm that hit the state in September “did a number” on south Florida groves, stressing the trees.
“Although the physical damage wasn’t major, we are seeing the impact in flowering and that impacts harvesting volumes,” she said.
“The early crop is affected the most, with various grove estimates throughout the industry as low as 30%. Later season varieties – which have had more time to recover – appear to be as good as 60%.”
She explained that the season, which typically kicks off around May, has had a slow start this year, but she expects it to run through this year and early into next year.
Florida’s avocado volumes are expected to return to normal next year, she added.
Asked about U.S. market conditions, Ostlund noted the overall avocado category seemed to be growing without limits.
“Matching that trend is consumers’ desire to eat healthily and their determination to eat more fruits and veggies. There are limits to how many apples and bananas you can eat,” she said.
“Consumers are reaching for new flavors and new tastes. Loving Hass avocados as they do, they’re selecting Florida avocados for their lighter taste (and fewer calories and less fat) which is perfect for salads, smoothies and other dishes.”