Early March 2014 finally brought rain to Southern California, and everyone was grateful. We had 3.5 inches in a short time, after months without any measurable rainfall. Unfortunately, along with the rain came some powerful winds. I took this photo as we were waiting for the winds to arrive. The question: would those avocados hanging at the top of that tree endure the storm?
As we listened to the wind and watched the thrashing trees, we knew that there would be fruit on the ground. Avocados that had been carefully nurtured for the past year, ready now for harvest in the coming weeks, could be damaged or destroyed. How many? That’s a question we couldn’t know until the storm was over.
Most avocados landed in the soft, deep leaves that carpet the ground under the groves and were still in good condition. Some of the fruit still in the trees may be scarred, after being battered by the wind, hitting branches or each other. And some avocados fell and hit the grove roads so hard that they split open. Sadly, they are ruined.
A group of my San Diego food blogging friends had already planned to visit the grove last week. The storm created a unique opportunity to see what happens in an avocado grove during a heavy storm. Seeing all the green leaves, new avocado blossoms and fresh green avocados lying on the ground was a new experience.
Most of the avocados were still in perfect condition. They are rock hard when they are picked (or fall) from the tree. It will take a week or more for these super fresh avocados to soften and be ready to eat.
It was fun to find so many perfect avocados, knowing they’ll be delicious in guacamole or salads or avocado toast…but it was heartbreaking to find some that were split and ruined. Here you can see the stem intact on the avocado…these stems are clipped flush with the avocado skin before they are packed. Unless you have visited an avocado grove, you probably haven’t seen these thick, long stems. Avocados are strong…it takes a very heavy wind to break that thick stem and cause the avocado to fall from a healthy tree.
As much as we love the rain, we’re hoping that we won’t get heavy winds again soon. This is the time of year when the trees are getting ready to bloom…some are blooming already! Baby trees and older trees…they all want to bloom. We still need rain…please keep thinking good thoughts for us…but this time, let’s skip the wind, shall we?
We’re optimistic…looking forward to harvesting the fruit that we still have on the trees and excited to watch the new baby avocados appear after the bloom. Soon we’ll be shipping gift boxes of fresh avocados to customers all over the United States…have you visited the ranch website? http://CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com