California avocado growers’ stormy season winds down

California avocado growers’ stormy season winds down

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California avocado growers’ stormy season winds down

California avocados’ resilience has been put to the test this year with multiple weather fronts, the latest being heavy rainfall and winds from Tropical Storm Hilary and a moderate earthquake in the Ojai area on the same day. Fortuitously for many California avocado farmers, these events will not impact this year’s harvest because most of the fruit was picked before the storm.

“This year’s crop of premium California avocados is about 90% harvested,” says California Avocado Commission President Jeff Oberman. “Fortunately there have been no reports of damage due to the Ojai earthquake, however, certain growing regions received as much as six inches of rain in one day. Farmers will need time for the groves to dry out to fully assess the impact of this rare tropical storm.”

Oberman, who joined the California Avocado Commission in October 2022, says that this season has had its challenges and rewards. 

Growers welcomed more rain than expected, which is beneficial to tree health. However, they had to brave tough market conditions and below-normal temperatures during the early and peak season. As expected, peak availability during the 2023 season occurred from April through July, but some groves and sections of groves have fruit still to be picked. Late-season market conditions have improved, but the storm that raged through California had the potential to pack another wallop. 

“Growers are committed to building and maintaining a sustainable California avocado industry by using environmentally friendly farming practices, ensuring worker well-being, contributing to healthy communities and maintaining economic viability. We expect the remaining crop to be available for retailers and foodservice operators who have chosen to feature it for the Labor Day holiday,” says Oberman. 

Next season’s crop has already experienced its bloom and set stages. As growers conclude one harvest they are evaluating if this recent storm will have any impact on next year’s harvest and carefully nurturing next year’s California avocados.

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