Flora loca avocados kick off fall crop from Mexico

09/14/2012 11:35:00 AM
Jim Offner

The fall avocado marketing season typically gets a push with late summer and early fall flora loca — often called “off-bloom” — product from Mexico, marketing agents say.

Flora loca, which often grow in mountainous areas of Mexico, often have a major influence on the late summer and early fall period, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing with Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc.

“It puts pressure on the old crop to finish,” he said.

Flora loca avocados often are smaller fruit, which fill a need, Wedin said.

“You just have some markets that see a lot of efficiency out of 60s and 70s and you’ll see a lot of them in the off-blooms in that period,” he said, adding that the flora loca is a good-quality avocado.

It also serves a practical function, he said.

“One thing about having a good-size off-bloom crop is it holds off the new crop,” he said.

Not having to rush a new fall crop into the market can avert potential problems, Wedin said.

“If you’re under pressure to sell new crop, you can have quality problems,” he said.

Bigger crop

Some avocado marketers were projecting this season’s flora loca volume to be in the area of 140 million pounds, compared to about 50 million a year ago.

“The flora loca gives consumers good-quality fruit and foodservice customers more choices,” said Phil Henry, president of Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp.

“From our standpoint, as a distributor, we are able to offer the highest quality product to our customers, so it works out for everybody,” he said.

Flora loca represents perhaps half of 1% of yearly volume for Fallbrook, Calif.-based Del Rey Avocado Co., said Bob Lucy, president.

“It’s a very good-eating avocado,” Lucy said.

The key to success in flora loca is consistent high quality from one growing region to another, Lucy said.



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