Agronometrics in Charts: Late Maturing Avocado Varieties Gaining Traction in California

By Agronometrics | 5 May 2023

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the California avocado season. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

Seven of the hundreds of avocado cultivars that exist are grown commercially in California, with the native Hass making up approximately 95% of the annual harvest. Despite winter and early spring rainfall contributing to a delayed start to harvests for the 2022-23 season, California’s avocado producers report superior quality, increased sizing and robust yields. It is estimated that California will produce 257 million pounds of avocados from late April through summer for this season. This is a slight decline from the 2021-22 yield of 276 million pounds in 2021-22. 

“Members of the Commission marketing team have been out in California avocado groves this month seeing firsthand just how beautiful the trees and avocados are after all the rain,” says Terry Splane, Vice President of Marketing at California Avocado Commission

“We’re really excited about this season in particular,” said Steve Taft, president of Eco Farms in Temecula. The grower works in partnership with Oppy to bring California avocados to market. While volume this season is lower than the previous year, Taft added, fruit size is larger due to increased rainfall.

avocado volumes by histo 14

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Demand continues to soar and is likely to be fueled further by quality. West Pak Avocado’s Director of Sourcing, Stephen Sheldon anticipates a promotional market through the middle of summer, followed by a slight decline by the end of August. “Since the local crop out of Mexico looks lighter than the year before, we anticipate some changes toward the end of summer and into early fall. Overall, though, we expect pricing will be good for marketing avocados this season,” he added.

avocado volumes by histo 16

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Pricing for California avocados this season has been the lowest in 5 years. Week 17 saw pricing at $32.75 per package, a 54 % drop compared to the 2022 season.

avocado prices by histor 7

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Both Colombia and Peru are shipping light volumes of avocados to the U.S. market while the season in Jalisco has just begun.

avocado volumes by origi 2 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

In 2022, avocado supplies at this time were limited and prices were high, whereas the 2023 season so far has had steady and ample supplies with consistent pricing. 

“Looking ahead, we will continue to see an excellent harvest of avocados in Mexico,” says Peter Shore of Calavo Growers Inc. “California will be increasing harvest over the coming weeks with peak volumes in May, June and July and we will have California avocados until September,” he added.

“In the past decade, the drought, water cost and water quality have all been challenging for California avocado growers,” said Jeff Oberman, president of the California Avocado Commission in Irvine. Farmers have also had to contend with wildfires and record-breaking heat surges, which have caused trees in some regions of Southern California to drop their fruit prematurely. 

“Challenges to production are being partially mitigated by growers who have increased plantings,” Oberman said. “Some growers who experienced devastating losses due to wildfires have replanted or are replanting avocado trees,” he added.

Though April, May, and June are still anticipated to be the months in which the majority of California’s produce will be sold, according to Oberman, there is a strong emphasis on extending the season into September with avocados from the northernmost producing regions.

He added that there are a couple of late maturing varieties, Reeds and Lamb Hass, that tend to mature later in the season and are attracting more interest this year. The California Avocado Commission predicts that the Hass variety will account for 243 million pounds of this year’s harvest, followed by lamb hass at 7 million pounds and Gem at 6 million pounds. CAC is also seeing efforts to boost production through high-density planting and other grove management techniques.

In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

Written by: Sarah Ilyas

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