Southern California farmers harvesting uncommonly small avocados

Aug 20, 2013

An unusual weather pattern over the last year has led to an abundance of small-sized avocados on Southern California trees, reported National Public Radio. The radio news service sought an explanation from Gary Bender, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Diego County.

Bender said in his 29 years on the job he has not seen such tiny avocados as those being picked this year.

Typically, several months after pollination, high temperatures in July cause a significant amount of developing fruit to drop to the orchard floor. That didn't happen in the summer of 2012. The heavy crop on the tree, combined with low rainfall, cool temperatures and sluggish photosynthesizing, has likely caused the stunting, Bender said.

NPR reporter Alastair Bland found avocados being sold 6 or 10 to a bag for $1.

"That's just ridiculous," Bender said.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist