Where can I find California Avocados?
California Avocados are available from Spring - Fall. During this time frame they are available at…
These Golden State avocados are grown in the rich soil of California, warmed by its sunshine and cooled by gentle coastal breezes. California Avocados are locally and responsibly grown by California farmers who nurture the avocados and the land every step of the way. They are committed to building and maintaining a sustainable California Avocado industry by using environmentally friendly farming practices, ensuring worker well-being, contributing to healthy communities and maintaining economic viability.
California Avocado growers farm under robust federal and state requirements and follow Good Agricultural Practices and the Food Safety Modernization Act. They also are committed to regenerative agriculture practices, which work to restore the natural benefits Mother Nature provides, like healthy soils. California Avocado farmers do not utilize tilling, the process of turning over and breaking up the soil. The practice of no tilling helps to generate healthy soils. Healthy soils reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing the release of carbon already in the soil and even sequestering additional carbon from the environment. Other regenerative agriculture practices include the prevention of soil erosion and improving water retention and infiltration.
California Avocado trees are perennials (grow for many years) and can remain in commercial production for 30, 40, even 50 years or more. From planting all the way through their life cycle, farmers and agricultural workers plant and care for their trees and harvest the fruit – all by hand. California Avocado growing practices do not involve tilling the earth, a process of turning over and breaking up the soil. Tilling is a practice that is damaging to the land, resulting in soil erosion and unhealthy soil. California Avocado growers’ practice of no tilling helps to generate healthy soils.
When you walk around California Avocado groves you see lots of avocado tree leaves on the ground. They are part of a natural ecosystem, adding nutrients to the soil and building beneficial microbial soil activity. California Avocado groves help improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by maintaining and building healthy soils and growing healthy root systems, all of which help sequester carbon.
Conservation can improve the health of soil and improve yields, making farming more resilient and sustainable. Erosion control is an important part of growing California Avocados. Its benefits include improved water quality, decreased soil loss, and preservation of wildlife habitat. Erosion control, which includes preservation of organic matter, on-farm drainage and transportation systems, is a central component of avocado orchard establishment and production particularly on steeper slopes where many California Avocado groves are planted.
Carbon sequestration is a process that happens over time and benefits the earth and its inhabitants. Perennial orchards such as California Avocado groves do not utilize tilling and they have natural leaf litter that generates beneficial microbial soil activity. Both contribute to healthy soil (net carbon sequestration). California Avocado trees also help sequester carbon from the air by naturally absorbing carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. That’s another good reason to love California Avocados!
At least some water is necessary to grow all food. California Avocado growers are passionate about water conservation and its importance for agriculture survival and success. Being good stewards of water use, California Avocado growers continuously develop and improve irrigation methods, employing technology to optimize how, when and where they apply water to their trees. California Avocado tree leaves that naturally fall to the ground are left there, helping to keep the avocado tree roots cool and reducing water requirements. As California Avocado growers work to develop healthy soils, water use is optimized, ensuring the efficient use of every drop of water for growing nutritious and delicious California Avocados.
California Avocado growers are committed to protecting Earth’s most precious resource, water. Different growing regions have unique micro-climates, and growers respond accordingly using tools such as sensors that monitor soil moisture and plant stress. They make calculations specific to their groves and local weather statistics and use the information to improve water use efficiencies. California Avocado growers also employ the same hands-on observations that have been used in groves for generations, checking the appearance of the soil, trees and leaves. With goals to minimize water usage while maximizing the amount of premium quality avocados they produce, growers adjust irrigation time of day, frequency and duration as needed.
Many California Avocado growers are embracing alternate energy sources to help power their groves. On-site solar panels such as those pictured here with grower Jessica Hunter are installed in many California Avocado groves creating energy.
There are nearly 2,000 commercial growers in the state with varying sizes of farms. Not all use alternate energy, but the numbers are growing. And all of them harness California sunshine to nurture their avocado trees.
California Avocados are grown close to home, meaning California’s premium avocados can go from grove to grocer in just a matter of days. Shorter distances reduce carbon emissions from transportation and less chance for damage in transit.
California Avocados are grown with a labor of love. But it’s not just the farmers who labor in love, the agricultural workers share that love too. For many of California’s avocado farmers, the employees have worked for years alongside them caring for the trees. It is common to find employees who have worked for the same farmer for decades.
Fair labor practices are important to California Avocado growers. Extensive state and federal regulations ensuring worker health and safety are in place, and California has robust regulations for wages and benefits, occupational health and safety, child and voluntary labor, and non-discrimination in agriculture. In many cases California’s regulations exceed federal requirements.
It takes 14 to 18 months to grow a single California Avocado, and when ready to harvest the fruit is harvested by hand, providing jobs to agricultural workers. The work is seasonal, with many harvesters employed by harvesting crews who work on different agricultural crops throughout the year. Like with some of their farm employees, many growers have worked with the same harvesters for decades.
California stands alone as a state that requires agricultural workers be paid the local or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher, and also be paid overtime. California’s state minimum wage is currently $14 per hour for employers with more than 25 employees ($13/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.), which is more than 40% higher than the current federal minimum wage rate of $7.25. California agricultural workers are better paid and additionally protected by the state requirement that workers be paid overtime after ten hours of work in a day or for the first eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek. California is also unique in requiring that agricultural employees be paid double time for all hours of work in excess of eight on the seventh day of work in a workweek.
Like the overtime rates, California has employee-friendly break and lunch requirements for all nonexempt employees that exceed federal law. The timing and duration of breaks (rest) and meal (lunch) periods are very specific in California, in contrast to federal requirements.
California Avocado growers are fair and loyal to their employees. Here is one of their stories.
Because of California’s comparatively large agricultural sector, worker occupational health and safety in the agricultural sector is strongly regulated. California Avocado growers and harvesting crews work under both state and federal regulations. They provide field sanitation facilities including potable water, shade and hygiene facilities. They ensure that workers have worker personal protective equipment and health and safety training. California requirements for accident prevention, response and reporting as well as access to first aid kit and more exceed federal laws.
The use of farm labor contractors is governed by both federal and state regulation. California has stringent requirements around hiring to prevent conditions such as indentured labor, fee-for-work, or illegal payroll deductions for costs such as uniforms, damaged safety equipment or losses resulting from an employee’s work. These laws exceed federal requirements.
Farm labor contractors are regulated by both federal and California law. The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act mandates that farm labor contractors must be registered with the Department of Labor, while California law mandates various licensing requirements, including continuing education.
California law also protects workers against illegal discrimination and harassment based on race, color/race/ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, or genetics.
Economic studies indicate that the California Avocado industry provides for more than 14,510 jobs on a full-time equivalent basis as a result of their business activities and the multiplier effect created by the fact that their purchases create jobs in a variety of farming and non-farming economic sectors. So, every California Avocado you enjoy in a salad, on toast, in a smoothie or however you like it helps contribute to employment in the state.
California Avocado groves bring natural beauty to the communities that they are a part of and contribute in many ways.
Trees, vines and plants add oxygen to the environment and they help sequester carbon dioxide from the air. California Avocado trees add oxygen to the environment — they are literally a breath of fresh air for their neighbors. A one-acre avocado grove sequesters up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year*, meaning California Avocado groves help renew their communities’ air supply and keep it fresh. Orchard trees like avocados also lower air temperatures by evaporating water in their leaves.
California wildfires burn through seasonally dry native vegetation and can cause considerable property damage and loss of life. California Avocado groves, due to their well-irrigated soil and relatively moist tropical vegetation with lush green leaves, can serve as a natural fire break for surrounding neighborhoods and businesses and can help firefighters slow or stop the rate of spread during wildfires. The average cost for constructing a firebreak is around $200 to $2,000 per acre with higher costs if erosion control structures must be included. Existing California Avocado groves located near communities can provide a cost savings benefit in firebreak establishment and management. When the horrific Thomas Fire occurred in 2017-18, there was tremendous loss, both personal and commercial, but California Avocado groves helped serve as a hedge in some areas against the spread of the fire.
Open space generally includes land such as parks and natural areas that may be used for recreational purposes, wetlands and forests that supply wildlife habitat, and farms and forests that provide aesthetic benefits to nearby residents. Open space also limits urban density, which reduces pressure on city utilities, roads and other infrastructure. California Avocado groves located near urban developed areas help maintain green spaces in densely populated Southern and Central California.
Community involvement is part of the healthy California lifestyle for many avocado growers. They participate in local avocado festivals, volunteer with youth programs like Future Farmers of America, join in community development and arts programs and much more.
Avocados have been grown in California for more than a century. They are an important part of California history, culture and cuisine. And similar to any business, for the California Avocado industry to be sustainable it must be economically viable — it has to be strong enough to provide a living for those working in it. California Avocado growers are faced with many challenges, and they toil day-in and day-out to ensure that their groves and businesses are healthy. Some are new to the business and are learning from a community of growers helping other growers learn the best practices in avocado cultivation. Many come from families who have been growing California Avocados for generations – the ultimate proof of an economically sustainable operation.
It is said that land is a farmer’s most valuable asset. Caring for that land is paramount for success. California Avocado growers care for their groves and also continuously strive for yield improvements that deliver more avocados per acre. This can involve different planting schematics, such as high-density planting, tree height maintenance to aid in harvesting and timely pruning of their trees. Different practices work for different avocado groves. While the Hass avocado, a California native, accounts for the vast majority of the California Avocado harvest, some growers are improving their economic viability by adding additional avocado varieties to their groves.
Growing fruits and vegetables in the United States can be more expensive than it is in other countries because of the cost of land, labor and other inputs. And California advances world-class standards for protecting the environment and taking care of workers. So, it may be more expensive to buy domestically grown produce. But when you do, you support your local economy, the environment, the growers and their communities.
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