With harvest on the horizon, California avocados will soon be ready for retail

From The Packer | 27 March 2024

Overview of avocados from California in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on March 26, 2024.

The California Avocado Commission estimates that the state will produce 208 million pounds of avocados during the 2024 season, which is just kicking off.

This is down slightly from last year’s 237 million pounds, likely due to significant rain during an El Niño year, which has slightly delayed the season. 

avocado volumes by histo 2

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

“After all this rain, what is needed is warm days to help the avocados on the trees to grow and for the set the following year,” said Terry Splane, vice president of marketing for the commission.

California has more than 50,000 acres of avocado fields, and it grows more avocados than any other state; 95% of which are hass avocados, followed by lamb hass and Gem.

This year’s harvest is “right on track,” says John Dmytriw, vice president of business development for Index Fresh, Corona, Calif. 

While the rain helps with the health of trees, he said, it also has led to a slightly slower start to the season. “But we’ll be gaining steam through April and May; June and July will be the peak months.” 

Early in the season Index Fresh picks various sizes of avocado, though focuses more on the smaller ones to allow other fruits to grow. 

“The tree is the perfect incubator,” Dmytriw said.

Hass avocados constitute 99% of the avocados U.S. consumers eat, followed by Gems, Dmytriw said. The Gem is slowly gaining acreage and sales because some retailers “want to provide something different and offer choices for their customers,” he said.

Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo expects to see its harvest volumes peak in April, May and June, starting with 48 size and smaller, then getting larger as the season progresses. The grower offers hass, Gem and lamb hass.


Avocado sales are strong at Jimbo’s, a four-store company in San Diego County, said Ryan Peterson, vice president of produce and floral.

Hass is the staple variety and bestseller, but Reed and Gem varieties are gaining popularity. In early March the stores transition to California products from Mexican-sourced product in the winter. Customers anticipate local avocados, Peterson said. 

Jimbo’s likes to carry avocados of different ripeness to meet the varied needs of customers, and it’s important to always have them, Peterson said. Otherwise, “they’ll look for a store with them readily available. If they know they can get ripe avocados that day, it increases sales storewide because it brings people in.”

Avocados are one of the most consistent items for sales throughout the year, says Chris Miller, produce director for Rockville, Md.-based Mom’s Organic Produce, which has 24 stores.

Most California avocados are hass, and Miller sells ready-to-eat and firmer avocados; he said he tries to educate consumers that offering firmer fruit allows the store to reduce food waste while allowing the fruit to ripen at home to suit a consumer’s needs. 


Demand for organic avocados is up, says Peter Shore, vice president of product management at Calavo.

“We’re seeing continued, double-digit growth year-over-year in our organic business,” said Dmytriw of Index Fresh. “A lot of growers have converted groves and acreage over to organics but we’re now seeing the fruits of their labors. It’s still something high on most retailers’ lists.” 

Overall, according to data from Circana, organic avocado retail sales have increased at a faster rate than conventional across the U.S. over the past four years. The volume of organic avocados grew 49%, while conventional sales increased 17%. Organic avocados now constitute 5.4% of the volume in California, and sales have increased 28.7% in the state over the past four years.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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