If the “Keep Calm and _______ ” meme hadn’t already been massively overplayed, this would have been the one time that I would have used it. Do you find yourself worried about the latest predictions of the coming avocado famine?
Many of you may recall Chipotle’s “Gaucapocalypse Now” scare from last year. It was just the latest in the time honored tradition of avocado obituaries. Avocados have always been rumored to be on the brink of extinction. Pests. Drought. Diet fads. Root rot. Every recent decade has had it’s own panic for it’s own reasons. Yet Americans enjoy more today than ever, and that won’t change any time soon.
Adam Sternbergh’s article in GrubStreet is actually pretty good. It is a detailed look at the very real challenges faced by some California avocado growers and the steps they are taking to deal with those challenges. But the attention grabbing headline only makes sense if you ignore the bigger picture. Yes, San Diego and Riverside area growers are in a real bind. I have friends down there and it really does suck (to be blunt.)
But along California’s Central Coast, including Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties, the water picture is much better. (Not perfect, of course… this is 2015 California.) Newer orchards with younger trees are producing well. Better management techniques are evolving and new rootstocks are being developed. While total avocado acreage in the state may well decrease a bit, total production isn’t expected to follow it down. Avocados have always been prone to alternating light and heavy crops. This will continue and cause occasional price fluctuations, just as it always has.
But have you had your last California avocado? Only if you don’t want another.
And who’d believe that?