Summer fruit: Aussie avocados
This year’s Australian avocado crop has been an absolute whopper. But while big yields are normally great news for growers, lockdowns, labour shortages, plummeting prices and increased plantings have all led to a perfect storm of problems for our avocado growers.
With foodservice in Victoria and NSW shuttered for months, huge volumes of fruit were instead being channelled into retail. This led to an avocado glut that saw the fruit on sale for as little as $1 each. That’s below the cost of production for some farmers, who were already struggling with labour costs. Many growers were forced to dump fruit as a result.
Avos on the up and set to rise further
The majority of avocados are grown in Queensland, but the fruit is also produced in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. According to Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas, growing conditions have been good across all regions this year. Growers in WA alone have seen a 233 percent increase on last year. Australia’s production from now until Christmas is expected to be up 150 percent more than last year.
With Aussie avocados increasing in popularity – thanks in great part to our love of “smashed avo” on toast – more growers have been planting avocados in response. An updated long-term forecast suggests our avocado production is expected to increase to 170,000 tonnes by 2026. This is more than double the 2020-21 crop of 78,085 tonnes.
“Particularly over the last five years, there’s been a lot of new plantings,” Tyas says. “About half of all trees planted are yet to come into full production, so this increase in supply will continue. A lot of young trees started to come into production this year. Combined with really good fruit set and overall production, this has led to a massive increase in volumes.”
Always ask for Aussie avocados
For consumers, there’s one very simple way to show your support for our growers: buy Aussie avocados. With so much quality fruit on offer there really has never been a better time to make the most of “Our Green Gold”. Make sure you ask your retailer for Aussie avocados if you can’t find them. Cheap Kiwi imports have also been flooding the market.
The two main varieties of avocados grown in Australia are Hass and Shepard. Hass are in season from May through to January; Shepards are in season from February through to May. But avocados are a perennial fruit, and because of the widespread and climatically diverse growing regions, premium Aussie avocadoes are available year-round.
Australian Avocados recommends storing your avos at room temperature in a fruit bowl until they reach your desired level of ripeness. To speed up the avocado ripening process, keep unripe avocados in a brown paper bag with a banana for two to three days. Ripe bananas contain a natural plant hormone called ethylene, which triggers ripening in mature fruit. The paper bag traps the ethylene gas produced by the fruit. This speeds up the ripening process. Once ripe, you can store your avocadoes in the fridge. The fruit will maintain optimum ripeness for two to three days, until you’re ready to use it.
You can find a huge range of avocado info and recipes at australianavocados.com.au