Florida avocado growers hope for longer season

05/24/2012 02:35:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

“The crop really doesn’t start until the middle of June, and with the 20 or so varieties we go through it’ll end around February,” Capote said.

Arcia from M&M Tropicals agreed, saying the crop should begin at the end of May or in early June.

Growers expect larger, promotable volumes to hit retail stores in July.

“The primary promotion campaigns will be based on price, especially in July, when we’ll have higher volumes due to weather demands,” Schaefer said.

The rest of the year looks good, too, as growers seek to find varieties that can lengthen the growing season for Florida avocados.

“There are a couple of varieties under study right now,” Schaefer said. “Florida’s quest is to try to lengthen the season. We would love to be able to be year-round (season) but haven’t found a variety for that yet.”

Growers do have varieties that last all the way into March, however, and others that start as early as late May or early June, so that leaves a gap of just a month or two.

Jonathan Crane, tropical fruit crop specialist for the Tropical Research & Education Center at the University of Florida, said the idea of having year-round avocados in Florida may not be far off.

“There have been about five varieties selected by growers that can last even into March, April or May,” he said.

The new varieties are still being tested and patented, so no specific information was available from the research center, though Crane is optimistic the longer season soon will be a reality.


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