In a preliminary estimate, Ventura County agriculture commissioner Henry Gonzalez said two-thirds of the 10,000 acres of county farmland burned by the Thomas fire are avocado groves, reported The Packer.
Despite rumors of cheaper groceries, prices at Whole Foods have only decreased by 1.2 percent overall after Amazon bought the company for $13.7 billion five weeks ago, says a study by the research firm Gordon Haskett.
Amazon is lowering prices on a few items at its newly acquired Whole Food’s stores, but that doesn’t mean the grocery retailer will become the best bargain in town quite yet or that other companies will feel pushed to lower their prices too. “Shoppers shouldn’t expect a price war to break out,” …
With avocado production in California down nearly 50 percent from a year ago, prices are climbing, says the LA Times. Extreme heat and drought last summer affected the fruit that’s maturing this season. “When the heavy rains finally arrived in the winter, it was too late,” the report said.
With the price of avocados too high for everyday Mexicans, the country’s officals are considering importing the fruit. Avocados are native to Mexico, which supplies roughly half the world’s demand, but a pound of the fruit now sells for 80 pesos — the same as Mexico’s minimum wage.
As the avocado market struggles in California, niche growers on the southern coast are switching to an unexpected crop: coffee. “[T]hey are eyeing machinery that can harvest the beans, which would reduce labor costs, as well as a contraption called a demucilager that mechanically strips coffee berry skin and pulp off the beans, rather than using water to clean them,” says The New York Times.
If the Trump administration follows through on its threat to impose a 20 percent tax on all goods coming from Mexico, the price of certain imported foods like avocados could go up. But the tax will only be on the so-called dutiable value, which means the wholesale price of the avocado when it crosses the border, which runs around 50 cents. That means a Trump-era avocado might be around a dime more, says The New York Times.
“Particularly ill-suited” to climate change, the avocado might once again become a luxury item, says The Atlantic. Avocados do poorly under exactly the kinds of conditions — higher temperatures and drier weather — that are becoming more common in the plant’s growing regions worldwide.
With avocado prices on the rise and American demand booming, Mexican farmers are cutting down trees to plant the fruit. “Avocado trees flourish at about the same altitude and climate as the pine and fir forests in the mountains of Michoacan, the state that produces most of Mexico’s avocados,” says The Seattle Times.
Last week’s triple digit temperatures and 30-mile winds wreaked havoc on California avocado orchards, right before the Industry’s biggest day of the year — the Fourth of July, says the Los Angeles Times. Growers aren’t sure yet how the heat will affect their harvest or guacamole-ingredient sales. The worst impact may come in 2017, since many of the plants lost flowers — the source of next year’s fruit.